Defects in very long chain fatty acid synthesis enhance alpha-synuclein toxicity in a yeast model of Parkinson's disease

Academic Article


  • We identified three S. cerevisiae lipid elongase null mutants (elo1δ elo2δand elo3δthat enhance the toxicity of alphasynuclein (α-syn). These elongases function in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to catalyze the elongation of medium chain fatty acids to very long chain fatty acids, which is a component of sphingolipids. Without α-syn expression, the various elo mutants showed no growth defects, no reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, and a modest decrease in survival of aged cells compared to wild-type cells. With (WT, A53T or E46K) α-syn expression, the various elo mutants exhibited severe growth defects (although A30P had a negligible effect on growth), ROS accumulation, aberrant protein trafficking, and a dramatic decrease in survival of aged cells compared to wild-type cells. Inhibitors of ceramide synthesis, myriocin and FB1, were extremely toxic to wild-type yeast cells expressing (WT, A53T, or E46K) α-syn but much less toxic to cells expressing A30P. The elongase mutants and ceramide synthesis inhibitors enhance the toxicity of WT α-syn, A53T and E46K, which transit through the ER, but have a negligible effect on A30P, which does not transit through the ER. Disruption of ceramidesphingolipid homeostasis in the ER dramatically enhances the toxicity of α-syn (WT, A53T, and E46K). © 2011 Lee et al.
  • Published In

  • PLoS One  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lee YJ; Wang S; Slone SR; Yacoubian TA; Witt SN
  • Volume

  • 6
  • Issue

  • 1