Endophilin-A/SH3GL2 calcium switch for synaptic autophagy induction is impaired by a Parkinson's risk variant

Autophagy. 2023 Apr 17:1-3. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2023.2200627. Online ahead of print.


At the synapse, proteins are reused several times during neuronal activity, causing a decline in protein function over time. Although emerging evidence supports a role of autophagy in synaptic function, the precise molecular mechanisms linking neuronal activity, autophagy and synaptic dysfunction are vastly unknown. We show how extracellular calcium influx in the pre-synaptic terminal constitutes the initial stimulus for autophagosome formation in response to neuronal activity. This mechanism likely acts to rapidly support synaptic homeostasis and protein quality control when intense neuronal activity challenges the synaptic proteome. We identified a residue in the flexible region of EndoA (Endophilin A) that dictates calcium-dependent EndoA mobility from the plasma membrane to the cytosol, where this protein interacts with autophagic membranes to promote autophagosome formation. We discovered that a novel Parkinson's disease-risk mutation in SH3GL2 (SH3 domain containing GRB2 like 2, endophilin A1) disrupts the calcium sensing of SH3GL2, leading to an immobile protein that cannot respond to calcium influx and therefore disrupting autophagy induction at synapses. Our work shows how neuronal activity is connected with autophagy to maintain synaptic homeostasis and survival.

Keywords: Neuronal activity; Parkinson disease; SH3GL2/ Endophilin-A; autophagy; calcium; neurodegeneration.