O‑GlcNAcylation of α‑Synuclein at Serine 87 Reduces Aggregation without Affecting Membrane Binding
journal contributionposted on 14.02.2017 by Yuka E. Lewis, Ana Galesic, Paul M. Levine, Cesar A. De Leon, Natalie Lamiri, Caroline K. Brennan, Matthew R. Pratt
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The aggregation of neurodegenerative-disease associated proteins can be affected by many factors, including a variety of post-translational modifications. One such modification, O-GlcNAcylation, has been found on some of these aggregation prone proteins, including α-synuclein, the major protein that plays a causative role in synucleinopathies like Parkinson’s disease. We previously used synthetic protein chemistry to prepare α-synuclein bearing a homogeneous O-GlcNAc modification at threonine 72 and showed that this modification inhibits protein aggregation. However, the effects of the other eight O-GlcNAcylation sites that have been identified were unknown. Here, we use a similar synthetic strategy to investigate the consequences of this modification at one of these sites, serine 87. We show that O-GlcNAcylation at this site also inhibits α-synuclein aggregation but to a lesser extent than that for the same modification at threonine 72. However, we also find that this modification does not affect the membrane-binding properties of α-synuclein, which differentiates it from phosphorylation at the same site. These results further support the development of therapies that can elevate O-GlcNAcylation of α-synuclein to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.