Cholesterol-containing lipid nanodiscs promote an α-synuclein binding mode that accelerates oligomerization
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionThe FEBS Journal. 2021, 288 (6), 1887-1905. 10.1111/febs.15551
Dysregulation of the biosynthesis of cholesterol and other lipids has been implicated in many neurological diseases, including Parkinson's disease. Misfolding of α-synuclein (α-Syn), the main actor in Parkinson's disease, is associated with changes in a lipid environment. However, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying cholesterol effect on α-Syn binding to lipids as well as α-Syn oligomerization and fibrillation remain elusive, as does the relative importance of cholesterol compared to other factors. We probed the interactions and fibrillation behaviour of α-Syn using styrene–maleic acid nanodiscs, containing zwitterionic and anionic lipid model systems with and without cholesterol. Surface plasmon resonance and thioflavin T fluorescence assays were employed to monitor α-Syn binding, as well as fibrillation in the absence and presence of membrane models. 1H-15N-correlated NMR was used to monitor the fold of α-Syn in response to nanodisc binding, determining individual residue apparent affinities for the nanodisc-contained bilayers. The addition of cholesterol inhibited α-Syn interaction with lipid bilayers and, however, significantly promoted α-Syn fibrillation, with a more than a 20-fold reduction of lag times before fibrillation onset. When α-Syn bilayer interactions were analysed at an individual residue level by solution-state NMR, we observed two different effects of cholesterol. In nanodiscs made of DOPC, the addition of cholesterol modulated the NAC part of α-Syn, leading to stronger interaction of this region with the lipid bilayer. In contrast, in the nanodiscs comprising DOPC, DOPE and DOPG, the NAC part was mostly unaffected by the presence of cholesterol, while the binding of the N and the C termini was both inhibited.