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The Membrane Interactions of Synuclein: Physiology and Pathology.
Annual Review of Pathology: Mechanisms of Disease  (IF23.472),  Pub Date : 2021-01-24, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-031920-092547
Gautam Runwal,Robert H Edwards

Specific proteins accumulate in neurodegenerative disease, and human genetics has indicated a causative role for many. In most cases, however, the mechanisms remain poorly understood. Degeneration is thought to involve a gain of abnormal function, although we do not know the normal function of many proteins implicated. The protein α-synuclein accumulates in the Lewy pathology of Parkinson's disease and related disorders, and mutations in α-synuclein cause degeneration, but we have not known its normal function or how it triggers disease. α-Synuclein localizes to presynaptic boutons and interacts with membranes in vitro. Overexpression slows synaptic vesicle exocytosis, and recent data suggest a normal role for the endogenous synucleins in dilation of the exocytic fusion pore. Disrupted membranes also appear surprisingly prominent in Lewy pathology. Synuclein thus interacts with membranes under both physiological and pathological conditions, suggesting that the normal function of synuclein may illuminate its role in degeneration.