Cellular and Molecular Biology



a-synuclein: between synaptic function and dysfunction

G. Di Rosa, D. Puzzo, A. Sant'Angelo, F. Trinchese and O. Arancio

Department of Psychiatry, Physiology and Neuroscience, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY and Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Dementia Research Center, Orangeburg, NY, USA

Offprint requests to: Dr. Ottavio Arancio, NYIU School of Medicine/Dementia Research Center, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962., USA. e-mail: arancio@nki.rfmh.org


Summary. Alpha-synuclein belongs to a family of vertebrate proteins, encoded by three different genes: a, ß, and g. The protein has become of interest to the neuroscience community in the last few years after the discovery that a mutation in the a-synuclein gene is associated with familial autosomal-dominant early-onset forms of Parkinson Disease. However, it is not yet clear how the protein is involved in the disease. Several studies have suggested that a-synuclein plays a role in neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity. This hypothesis might help elucidate how a-synuclein malfunctioning contributes to the development of a series of disorders known as synucleinopathies. Histol. Histopathol. 18, 1257-1266 (2003)

Key words: Synuclein, Neurotransmission, Parkinson disease, Plasticity

DOI: 10.14670/HH-18.1257