Human astrocytes transfer aggregated alpha-synuclein via tunneling nanotubes
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
Many lines of evidence suggest that the Parkinson’s disease (PD)-related protein α-synuclein (α-SYN) can propagate from cell to cell in a prion-like manner. However, the cellular mechanisms behind the spreading remain elusive. Here, we show that human astrocytes derived from embryonic stem cells actively transfer aggregated α-SYN to nearby astrocytes via direct contact and tunneling nanotubes (TNTs). Failure in the astrocytes’ lysosomal digestion of excess α-SYN oligomers results in α-SYN deposits in the trans-Golgi network followed by endoplasmic reticulum swelling and mitochondrial disturbances. The stressed astrocytes respond by conspicuously sending out TNTs, enabling intercellular transfer of α-SYN to healthy astrocytes, which in return deliver mitochondria, indicating a TNT-mediated rescue mechanism. Using a pharmacological approach to inhibit TNT formation, we abolished the transfer of both α-SYN and mitochondria. Together, our results highlight the role of astrocytes in α-SYN cell-to-cell transfer, identifying possible pathophysiological events in the PD brain that could be of therapeutic relevance.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - 2017 Dec 6|