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Ligand Profiling as a Diagnostic Tool to Differentiate Patient-Derived α-Synuclein Polymorphs

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paragon-plus: 6598372  ORCID logo
Melki, Ronald; paragon-plus: 6958201 
paragon-plus: 2703352  ORCID logo


Amyloid fibrils are characteristic of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. While different diseases may have fibrils formed of the same protein, the supramolecular morphology of these fibrils is disease-specific. Here, a method is reported to distinguish eight morphologically distinct amyloid fibrils based on differences in ligand binding properties. Eight fibrillar polymorphs of α-synuclein (αSyn) were investigated: five generated de novo using recombinant αSyn and three generated using protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) of recombinant αSyn seeded with brain homogenates from deceased patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Fluorescence binding assays were carried out for each fibril using a toolkit of six different ligands. The fibril samples were separated into five categories based on a binary classification of whether they bound specific ligands or not. Quantitative binding measurements then allowed every fibrillar polymorph to be uniquely identified, and the PMCA fibrils derived from PD, MSA, and DLB patients could be unambiguously distinguished. This approach constitutes a novel and operationally simple method to differentiate amyloid fibril morphologies and to identify disease states using PMCA fibrils obtained by seeding with patient samples.


Publication status: Published


ligand binding site, Parkinson’s disease, polymorphs, protein misfolding cyclic amplification, fluorescence binding assay, α-synuclein

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ACS Chemical Neuroscience

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American Chemical Society
Equipment Call (EP/P030467/ , Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Underpinning)
Cambridge Trust Prince of Wales Scholarship (NA)