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Zhu, Z.J., Wu, K.C., Yung, W.H., Qian, Z.M., Ke, Y. (2016). Differential interaction between iron and mutant alpha-synuclein causes distinctive Parkinsonian phenotypes in Drosophila.  Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1862(4): 518--525.
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Alpha-synuclein aggregation is the central hallmark of both sporadic and familial Parkinson's disease (PD). Patients with different PD-causing genetic defects of alpha-synuclein usually show distinctive clinical features that are atypical to sporadic PD. Iron accumulation is invariably found in PD. Recent studies showed that mutant and wild-type alpha-synuclein may have differential interaction with iron and mutant alpha-synuclein toxicity could be preferentially exacerbated by iron. We hence hypothesized that iron overload could selectively influence mutant alpha-synuclein toxicity and disease phenotypes. To test the hypothesis, we investigated if Drosophila melanogaster over-expressing A53T, A30P, and wild-type (WT) alpha-synuclein have different responses to iron treatment. We showed that iron treatment induced similar reduction of survival rate in all flies but induced a more severe motor decline in A53T and A30P mutant alpha-synuclein expressing flies, suggesting interaction between mutant alpha-synuclein and iron. Although no significant difference in total head iron content was found among these flies, we demonstrated that iron treatment induced selective DA neuron loss in motor-related PPM3 cluster only in the flies that express A53T and A30P mutant alpha-synuclein. We provided the first in vivo evidence that iron overload could induce distinctive neuropathology and disease phenotypes in mutant but not WT alpha-synuclein expressing flies, providing insights to the cause of clinical features selectively exhibited by mutant alpha-synuclein carriers.

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    Biochim. Biophys. Acta
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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