We have developed a yeast-based model recapitulating neurotoxicity of α-synuclein fibrilization. This model recognized metal ions, known risk factors of α-synucleinopathy, as stimulators of α-synuclein aggregation and cytotoxicity. Elimination of Yca1 caspase activity augmented both cytotoxicity and inclusion body formation, suggesting the involvement of apoptotic pathway components in toxic α-synuclein amyloidogenesis. Deletion of hydrophobic amino acids at positions 66-74 in α-synuclein reduced its cytotoxicity but, remarkably, did not lower the levels of insoluble α-synuclein, indicating that noxious α-synuclein species are different from insoluble aggregates. A compound screen aimed at finding molecules with therapeutic potential identified flavonoids with strong activity to restrain α-synuclein toxicity. Subsequent structure-activity analysis elucidated that these acted by virtue of anti-oxidant and metal-chelating activities. In conclusion, this yeast-cell model as presented allows not only fundamental studies related to mechanisms of α-synuclein-instigated cellular degeneration, but is also a valid high-throughput identification tool for novel neuroprotective agents. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Griffioen, G., Duhamel, H., Van Damme, N., Pellens, K., Zabrocki, P., Pannecouque, C., … Wera, S. (2006). A yeast-based model of α-synucleinopathy identifies compounds with therapeutic potential. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1762(3), 312–318. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2005.11.009