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BNA 2023 | Investigating the relevance of alpha-synuclein localization in synucleinopathies

Tiago Outeiro, PhD, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany, comments on unanswered questions surrounding the abnormal localization of alpha-synuclein (α-syn) and its potential implications in Parkinson’s disease pathophysiology. α-syn is primarily known as a presynaptic protein, suggesting its involvement in synaptic functions within the brain. However, Prof. Outeiro notes that α-syn is not exclusively found in the presynaptic region; it also exists in other cellular compartments such as the nucleus and mitochondria. The reasons behind the protein’s localization in different cellular locations are not yet fully understood. It remains unclear whether this variability in localization is a normal aspect of its function or a pathological alteration. Further investigations are needed to determine the specific role of α-syn in the nucleus and its potential interactions with DNA. Comprehending the normal biology of α-syn is crucial, as this protein may hold significance as a therapeutic target. This interview took place at The BNA 2023 International Festival of Neuroscience in Brighton, UK.

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