This article is part of the Special Issue on Solid-State NMR of Biomolecular Assemblies
Comparison of the 3D structures of mouse and human α-synuclein fibrils by solid-state NMR and STEM

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Intra-neuronal aggregation of α-synuclein into fibrils is the molecular basis for α-synucleinopathies, such as Parkinson’s disease. The atomic structure of human α-synuclein (hAS) fibrils was recently determined by Tuttle et al. using solid-state NMR (ssNMR). The previous study found that hAS fibrils are composed of a single protofilament. Here, we have investigated the structure of mouse α-synuclein (mAS) fibrils by STEM and isotope-dilution ssNMR experiments. We found that in contrast to hAS, mAS fibrils consist of two or even three protofilaments which are connected by rather weak interactions in between them. Although the number of protofilaments appears to be different between hAS and mAS, we found that they have a remarkably similar secondary structure and protofilament 3D structure as judged by secondary chemical shifts and intra-molecular distance restraints. We conclude that the two mutant sites between hAS and mAS (positions 53 and 87) in the fibril core region are crucial for determining the quaternary structure of α-synuclein fibrils.


Solid-state NMR
Amyloid fibril

This Special Issue is edited by Tatyana Polenova, Amir Goldbourt, and Guido Pintacuda, and highlights the state of the art in structural biology of biomolecular assemblies by solid-state NMR.