Single-vesicle imaging reveals lipid-selective and stepwise membrane disruption by monomeric α-synuclein
Journal article, 2020

The interaction of the neuronal protein α-synuclein with lipid membranes appears crucial in the context of Parkinson's disease, but the underlying mechanistic details, including the roles of different lipids in pathogenic protein aggregation and membrane disruption, remain elusive. Here, we used single-vesicle resolution fluorescence and label-free scattering microscopy to investigate the interaction kinetics of monomeric α-synuclein with surface-tethered vesicles composed of different negatively charged lipids. Supported by a theoretical model to account for structural changes in scattering properties of surface-tethered lipid vesicles, the data demonstrate stepwise vesicle disruption and asymmetric membrane deformation upon α-synuclein binding to phosphatidylglycerol vesicles at protein concentrations down to 10 nM (∼100 proteins per vesicle). In contrast, phosphatidylserine vesicles were only marginally affected. These insights into structural consequences of α-synuclein interaction with lipid vesicles highlight the contrasting roles of different anionic lipids, which may be of mechanistic relevance for both normal protein function (e.g., synaptic vesicle binding) and dysfunction (e.g., mitochondrial membrane interaction).

membrane interaction


lipid vesicle

single-vesicle scattering


Jonas Hannestad

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Sandra Rocha

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Björn Agnarsson

Chalmers, Physics, Nano and Biophysics

Vladimir Zhdanov

Russian Academy of Sciences

Chalmers, Physics, Nano and Biophysics

Pernilla Wittung Stafshede

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Chemical Biology

Fredrik Höök

Chalmers, Physics, Nano and Biophysics

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

0027-8424 (ISSN) 1091-6490 (eISSN)

Vol. 117 25 14178-14186

Subject Categories

Physical Chemistry

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Other Physics Topics





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