α-synuclein (αS) and β-synuclein (βS) are homologous proteins implicated in Parkinson's disease and related synucleinopathies. While αS is neurotoxic and its aggregation and deposition in Lewy bodies is related to neurodegeneration, βS is considered as a potent inhibitor of αS aggregation and toxicity. No mechanism for the neuroprotective role of βS has been described before. Here, we report that similar to αS, βS normally occurs in lipid-associated, soluble oligomers in wild-type (WT) mouse brains. We partially purified βS and αS proteins from whole mouse brain by size exclusion followed by ion exchange chromatography and found highly similar elution profiles. Using this technique, we were able to partially separate βS from αS and further separate βS monomer from its own oligomers. Importantly, we show that although αS and βS share high degree of similarities, βS oligomerization is not affected by increasing cellular levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), while αS oligomerization is dramatically enhanced by PUFA. We show the in vivo occurrence of hetero-oligomers of αS and βS and suggest that βS expression inhibits PUFA-enhanced αS oligomerization by forming hetero-oligomers up to a quatramer that do not further propagate.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Protein oligomerization and aggregation