Congratulations to Chunyu Zhao, Jia Tu and Chuchu Wang!

Congratulations to Chunyu Zhao, Jia Tu and Chuchu Wang for publishing their work in National Science Review!

Abstract: Accumulation of aggregated α-synuclein (α-syn) in Lewy bodies is the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Genetic mutations in lipid metabolism are causative for a subset of patients with Parkinsonism. The role of α-syn's lipid interactions in its function and aggregation is recognized, yet the specific lipids involved and how lipid metabolism issues trigger α-syn aggregation and neurodegeneration remain unclear. Here, we found that α-syn shows a preference for binding to lysophospholipids (LPLs), particularly targeting lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) without relying on electrostatic interactions. LPC is capable of maintaining α-syn in a compact conformation, significantly reducing its propensity to aggregate both in vitro and within cellular environments. Conversely, a reduction in the production of cellular LPLs is associated with an increase in α-syn accumulation. Our work underscores the critical role of LPLs in preserving the natural conformation of α-syn to inhibit improper aggregation, and establishes a potential connection between lipid metabolic dysfunction and α-syn aggregation in PD.

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