N-Terminal Acetylation of α-Synuclein Slows down Its Aggregation Process and Alters the Morphology of the Resulting Aggregates

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Parkinson's disease is associated with the aberrant aggregation of α-synuclein. Although the causes of this process are still unclear, post-translational modifications of α-synuclein are likely to play a modulatory role. Since α-synuclein is constitutively N-terminally acetylated, we investigated how this post-translational modification alters the aggregation behavior of this protein. By applying a three-pronged aggregation kinetics approach, we observed that N-terminal acetylation results in a reduced rate of lipid-induced aggregation and slows down both elongation and fibril-catalyzed aggregate proliferation. An analysis of the amyloid fibrils produced by the aggregation process revealed different morphologies for the acetylated and non-acetylated forms in both lipid-induced aggregation and seed-induced aggregation assays. In addition, we found that fibrils formed by acetylated α-synuclein exhibit a lower β-sheet content. These findings indicate that N-terminal acetylation of α-synuclein alters its lipid-dependent aggregation behavior, reduces its rate of in vitro aggregation, and affects the structural properties of its fibrillar aggregates.

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Medical Research Council



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