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Identification of novel protein phosphatases as modifiers of alpha-synuclein aggregation in yeast

Brás, Inês Caldeira, Tenreiro, Sandra, Silva, Andreia M, Outeiro, Tiago F
FEMS yeast research 2018 v.18 no.8
G-protein coupled receptors, Parkinson disease, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, dephosphorylation, humans, non-specific serine/threonine protein kinase, phosphorylation, post-translational modification, therapeutics, toxicity, yeasts
Alpha-synuclein (aSyn) is a key player in a group of neurodegenerative diseases commonly known as synucleinopathies. Recent findings indicate phosphorylation in several aSyn residues can modulate its aggregation and subcellular localization, thereby affecting pathological processes. However, the precise molecular mechanisms governing aSyn phosphorylation are still unclear. Recent studies investigated the role of various families of protein kinases, such as the polo-like kinases, G protein-coupled receptor kinases or casein kinases. In contrast, our understanding of the phosphatases involved in the dephosphorylation of aSyn is rather limited. Here, we exploited the unique toolbox of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in order to identify novel phosphatases capable of modulating aSyn phosphorylation, inclusion formation and toxicity of human aSyn. In summary, given the association between aSyn phosphorylation and pathology in Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies, modulation of this post-translational modification may constitute an attractive target for therapeutic intervention.