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Secretion and Uptake of α-Synuclein Via Extracellular Vesicles in Cultured Cells

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tiago OuteiroORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018, The Author(s). In Parkinson’s disease and other Lewy body disorders, the propagation of pathology has been accredited to the spreading of extracellular α-synuclein (α-syn). Although the pathogenic mechanisms are not fully understood, cell-to-cell transfer of α-syn via exosomes and other extracellular vesicles (EVs) has been reported. Here, we investigated whether altered molecular properties of α-syn can influence the distribution and secretion of α-syn in human neuroblastoma cells. Different α-syn variants, including α-syn:hemi-Venus and disease-causing mutants, were overexpressed and EVs were isolated from the conditioned medium. Of the secreted α-syn, 0.1–2% was associated with vesicles. The major part of EV α-syn was attached to the outer membrane of vesicles, whereas a smaller fraction was found in their lumen. For α-syn expressed with N-terminal hemi-Venus, the relative levels associated with EVs were higher than for WT α-syn. Moreover, such EV-associated α-syn:hemi-Venus species were internalized in recipient cells to a higher degree than the corresponding free-floating forms. Among the disease-causing mutants, A53T α-syn displayed an increased association with EVs. Taken together, our data suggest that α-syn species with presumably lost physiological functions or altered aggregation properties may shift the cellular processing towards vesicular secretion. Our findings thus lend further support to the tenet that EVs can mediate spreading of harmful α-syn species and thereby contribute to the pathology in α-synucleinopathies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gustafsson G, Loov C, Persson E, Lazaro DF, Takeda S, Bergstrom J, Erlandsson A, Sehlin D, Balaj L, Gyorgy B, Hallbeck M, Outeiro TF, Breakefield XO, Hyman BT, Ingelsson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

Year: 2018

Volume: 38

Issue: 8

Pages: 1539-1550

Print publication date: 01/11/2018

Online publication date: 04/10/2018

Acceptance date: 27/06/2018

Date deposited: 24/10/2018

ISSN (print): 0272-4340

ISSN (electronic): 1573-6830

Publisher: Springer New York LLC


DOI: 10.1007/s10571-018-0622-5


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