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Isoindole Linkages Provide a Pathway for DOPAL-Mediated Cross-Linking of α‑Synuclein

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journal contribution
posted on 02.02.2018, 00:00 by Jonathan W. Werner-Allen, Sarah Monti, Jenna F. DuMond, Rodney L. Levine, Ad Bax
3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL) is a toxic and reactive product of dopamine catabolism. In the catecholaldehyde hypothesis for Parkinson’s disease, it is a critical driver of the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons that characterizes the disease. DOPAL also cross-links α-synuclein, the main component of Lewy bodies, which are a pathological hallmark of the disease. We previously described the initial adduct formed in reactions between DOPAL and α-synuclein, a dicatechol pyrrole lysine (DCPL). Here, we examine the chemical basis for DOPAL-based cross-linking. We find that autoxidation of DCPL’s catechol rings spurs its decomposition, yielding an intermediate dicatechol isoindole lysine (DCIL) product formed by an intramolecular reaction of the two catechol rings to give an unstable tetracyclic structure. DCIL then reacts with a second DCIL to give a dimeric, di-DCIL. This product is formed by an intermolecular carbon-carbon bond between the isoindole rings of the two DCILs that generates two structurally nonequivalent and separable atropisomers. Using α-synuclein, we demonstrate that the DOPAL-catalyzed formation of oligomers can be separated into two steps. The initial adduct formation occurs robustly within an hour, with DCPL as the main product, and the second step cross-links α-synuclein molecules. Exploiting this two-stage reaction, we use an isotopic labeling approach to show the predominant cross-linking mechanism is an interadduct reaction. Finally, we confirm that a mass consistent with a di-DCIL linkage can be observed in dimeric α-synuclein by mass spectrometry. Our work elucidates previously unknown pathways of catechol-based oxidative protein damage and will facilitate efforts to detect DOPAL-based cross-links in disease-state neurons.