Cross-seeding of alpha-synuclein aggregation by amyloid fibrils of food proteins

Jonathan Vaneyck*, Ine Segers-Nolten, Kerensa Broersen, Mireille M.A.E. Claessens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The aggregation of the protein α-synuclein (aSyn) into amyloid fibrils in the human brain is associated with the development of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease. The previously observed prion-like spreading of aSyn aggregation throughout the brain and the finding that heterologous cross-seeding of amyloid aggregation occurs in vitro for some proteins suggest that exposure to am-yloids in general may pose a risk for disease development. To elucidate which protein fibril characteristics determine if and how heterologous amyloid seeding can occur, we investigated the potential of amyloid fibrils formed from proteins found in food, hen egg white lysozyme, and bovine milk β-lactoglobulin to cross-seed aSyn aggregation in the test tube. We observed that amyloid fibrils from lysozyme, but not β-lactoglobulin, potently cross-seeded the aggregation of aSyn as indicated by a significantly shorter lag phase of aSyn aggregation in the presence of lysozyme fibrils. The cross-seeding effect of lysozyme was found to be primarily driven by a surface-mediated nucleation mechanism. The differential seeding effect of lysozyme and β-lactoglobulin on aSyn aggregation could be explained on the basis of binding affinity, binding site, and electrostatic interactions. Our results indicate that heterologous seeding of proteins may occur depending on the physicochemical characteristics of the seed protein fibril. Our findings suggest that heterologous seeding has the potential to determine the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative amyloid diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100358
JournalJournal of biological chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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