New SNCA mutation and structures of α-synuclein filaments from juvenile-onset synucleinopathy.
A 21-nucleotide duplication in one allele of SNCA was identified in a previously described disease with abundant α-synuclein inclusions that we now call juvenile-onset synucleinopathy (JOS). This mutation translates into the insertion of MAAAEKT after residue 22 of α-synuclein, resulting in a protein of 147 amino acids. Both wild-type and mutant proteins were present in sarkosyl-insoluble material that was extracted from frontal cortex of the individual with JOS and examined by electron cryo-microscopy. The structures of JOS filaments, comprising either a single protofilament, or a pair of protofilaments, revealed a new α-synuclein fold that differs from the folds of Lewy body diseases and multiple system atrophy (MSA). The JOS fold consists of a compact core, the sequence of which (residues 36-100 of wild-type α-synuclein) is unaffected by the mutation, and two disconnected density islands (A and B) of mixed sequences. There is a non-proteinaceous cofactor bound between the core and island A. The JOS fold resembles the common substructure of MSA Type I and Type II dimeric filaments, with its core segment approximating the C-terminal body of MSA protofilaments B and its islands mimicking the N-terminal arm of MSA protofilaments A. The partial similarity of JOS and MSA folds extends to the locations of their cofactor-binding sites. In vitro assembly of recombinant wild-type α-synuclein, its insertion mutant and their mixture yielded structures that were distinct from those of JOS filaments. Our findings provide insight into a possible mechanism of JOS fibrillation in which mutant α-synuclein of 147 amino acids forms a nucleus with the JOS fold, around which wild-type and mutant proteins assemble during elongation.
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the Electron Microscopy Facility of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. We thank Jake Grimmett, Toby Darling and Ivan Clayson for help with high-performance computing, and Rose Richardson and Max Jacobsen for help with neuropathology. We acknowledge Diamond Light Source for access and support of the cryo-EM facilities at the UK’s Electron Bio-Imaging Centre (under proposal bi23268), funded by the Wellcome Trust, the MRC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). M.G. is an Associate Member of the UK Dementia Research Institute. For the purpose of open access, the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (BRC-1215-20014)
US National Institutes of Health (U01-NS110437, RF1-AG071177)
Kakenhi (21K06417, 18K06506, 22H04923)