Acta neuropathologica

Histones facilitate α-synuclein aggregation during neuronal apoptosis.

PMID 28004278


Ample in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that intercellular transmission of α-synuclein (αS) is a mechanism underlying the spread of αS pathology in Parkinson's disease and related disorders. What remains unexplained is where and how initial transmissible αS aggregates form. In a previous study, we demonstrated that αS aggregates rapidly form in neurons with impaired nuclear membrane integrity due to the interaction between nuclear proaggregant factor(s) and αS and that such aggregates may serve as a source for αS seeding. In the present study, we identify histones as a potential nuclear proaggregant factor for αS aggregation in both apoptotic neurons and brains with αS pathology. We further demonstrate that histone-induced aggregates contain a range of αS oligomers, including protofibrils and mature fibrils, and that these αS aggregates can seed additional aggregation. Importantly, we demonstrate transmissibility in mouse brains from stereotaxic injection. This study provides new clues to the mechanism underlying initial pathological aggregation of αS in PD and related disorders, and could lead to novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.