Table of Contents
ISRN Neurology
Volume 2011, Article ID 521847, 14 pages
Research Article

Familial Parkinson's Disease Mutant E46K α-Synuclein Localizes to Membranous Structures, Forms Aggregates, and Induces Toxicity in Yeast Models

Biology Department, Lake Forest College, Box P7, 555 North Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045, USA

Received 30 March 2011; Accepted 2 May 2011

Academic Editors: H. Miyajima and A. K. Petridis

Copyright © 2011 Michael Fiske et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In Parkinson’s disease (PD), midbrain dopaminergic neuronal death is linked to the accumulation of aggregated α-synuclein. The familial PD mutant form of α-synuclein, E46K, has not been thoroughly evaluated yet in an organismal model system. Here, we report that E46K resembled wild-type (WT) α-synuclein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in that it predominantly localized to the plasma membrane, and it did not induce significant toxicity or accumulation. In contrast, in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, E46K did not associate with the plasma membrane. Instead, in one strain, it extensively aggregated in the cytoplasm and was as toxic as WT. Remarkably, in another strain, E46K extensively associated with the endomembrane system and was more toxic than WT. Our studies recapitulate and extend aggregation and phospholipid membrane association properties of E46K previously observed in vitro and cell culture. Furthermore, it supports the notion that E46K generates toxicity partly due to increased association with endomembrane systems within cells.