Altered degradation of α-synuclein (α-syn) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD). We have shown that α-syn can be degraded via chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a selective lysosomal mechanism for degradation of cytosolic proteins. Pathogenic mutants of α-syn block lysosomal translocation, impairing their own degradation along with that of other CMA substrates. While pathogenic α-syn mutations are rare, α-syn undergoes posttranslational modifications, which may underlie its accumulation in cytosolic aggregates in most forms of PD. Using mouse ventral medial neuron cultures, SH-SY5Y cells in culture, and isolated mouse lysosomes, we have found that most of these posttranslational modifications of α-syn impair degradation of this protein by CMA but do not affect degradation of other substrates. Dopamine-modified α-syn, however, is not only poorly degraded by CMA but also blocks degradation of other substrates by this pathway. As blockage of CMA increases cellular vulnerability to stressors, we propose that dopamine-induced autophagic inhibition could explain the selective degeneration of PD dopaminergic neurons.
Marta Martinez-Vicente, Zsolt Talloczy, Susmita Kaushik, Ashish C. Massey, Joseph Mazzulli, Eugene V. Mosharov, Roberto Hodara, Ross Fredenburg, Du-Chu Wu, Antonia Follenzi, William Dauer, Serge Przedborski, Harry Ischiropoulos, Peter T. Lansbury, David Sulzer, Ana Maria Cuervo
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.