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Overexpression of the calpain-specific inhibitor calpastatin reduces human alpha-Synuclein processing, aggregation and synaptic impairment in [A30P]?Syn transgenic mice.


ABSTRACT: Lewy bodies, a pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD), contain aggregated alpha-synuclein (?Syn), which is found in several modified forms and can be discovered phosphorylated, ubiquitinated and truncated. Aggregation-prone truncated species of ?Syn caused by aberrant cleavage of this fibrillogenic protein are hypothesized to participate in its sequestration into inclusions subsequently leading to synaptic dysfunction and neuronal death. Here, we investigated the role of calpain cleavage of ?Syn in vivo by generating two opposing mouse models. We crossed into human [A30P]?Syn transgenic (i) mice deficient for calpastatin, a calpain-specific inhibitor, thus enhancing calpain activity (SynCAST(-)) and (ii) mice overexpressing human calpastatin leading to reduced calpain activity (SynCAST(+)). As anticipated, a reduced calpain activity led to a decreased number of ?Syn-positive aggregates, whereas loss of calpastatin led to increased truncation of ?Syn in SynCAST(-). Furthermore, overexpression of calpastatin decreased astrogliosis and the calpain-dependent degradation of synaptic proteins, potentially ameliorating the observed neuropathology in [A30P]?Syn and SynCAST(+) mice. Overall, our data further support a crucial role of calpains, particularly of calpain 1, in the pathogenesis of PD and in disease-associated aggregation of ?Syn, indicating a therapeutic potential of calpain inhibition in PD.

SUBMITTER: Diepenbroek M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4110482 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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