Lysine residues at the first and second KTKEGV repeats mediate α-Synuclein binding to membrane phospholipids

Yonaton Zarbiv, Dganit Simhi-Haham, Eitan Israeli, Suaad Abed Elhadi, Jessica Grigoletto, Ronit Sharon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


While α-Synuclein (α-Syn) is mainly detected as a cytosolic protein, a portion of it is recovered bound to membranes. It is suggested that binding to membrane phospholipids controls α-Syn structure, physiology and pathogenesis. We aimed at investigating the role, of the positive charged lysine residues at the KTKEGV repeat motif, in mediating α-Syn associations with membrane phospholipids and in α-Syn oligomerization and aggregation. Specifically, two positive lysine (K) residues were replaced with two negative glutamic acid (E) residues at either the first or second KTKEGV repeat motifs. The effect of these mutations on membrane binding was determined by a quantitative phospholipid ELISA assay and compared to wild-type α-Syn and to the Parkinson's disease-causing mutations, A30P, E46K and A53T. We found that the K to E substitutions affected α-Syn binding to phospholipids. In addition, K to E substitutions resulted in a dramatically lower level of soluble α-Syn oligomers and larger intracellular inclusions. Together, our results suggest a critical role for lysine residues at the N-terminal repeat domain in the pathophysiology of α-Syn.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Aggregates
  • KTKEGV repeat
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Phospholipids
  • Soluble α-Syn oligomers
  • α-Synuclein


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