Different Conformational Subensembles of the Intrinsically Disordered Protein α-Synuclein in Cells

Mohammad A.A. Fakhree*, Ine Segers Nolten, Christian Blum, Mireille M.A.E. Claessens (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


The intrinsically disordered protein α-synuclein (αS) is thought to play an important role in cellular membrane processes. Although in vitro experiments indicate that this initially disordered protein obtains structure upon membrane binding, NMR and EPR studies in cells could not single out any conformational subensemble. Here we microinjected small amounts of αS, labeled with a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) pair, into SH-SY5Y cells to investigate conformational changes upon membrane binding. Our FRET studies show a clear conformational difference between αS in the cytosol and when bound to small vesicles. The identification of these different conformational subensembles inside cells resolves the apparent contradiction between in vitro and in vivo experiments and shows that at least two different conformational subensembles of αS exist in cells. The existence of conformational subensembles supports the idea that αS can obtain different functions which can possibly be dynamically addressed with changing intracellular physicochemical conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1253
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of physical chemistry letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D


Dive into the research topics of 'Different Conformational Subensembles of the Intrinsically Disordered Protein α-Synuclein in Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this