Book of Abstracts: Albany 2003
June 17-21 2003
Dissecting α-Synuclein: A Natively Unfolded Protein
Natively unfolded or intrinsically unstructured proteins constitute a unique tribe of the protein kingdom. Evolutionary persistence of such proteins represents strong evidence in the favor of their importance and raises intriguing questions on the role of protein disorders in biological processes. Some intrinsically unfolded proteins are involved in protein deposition diseases. Additionally, natively unfolded proteins, with their lack of ordered structure, represent attractive targets for biophysical studies of the unfolded polypeptide chain under physiological conditions in vitro.
Structural properties of an illustrative member of the natively unfolded family, α-synuclein, will be considered. α-Synuclein is a neuroprotein, misfolding and fibrillation of which was shown to be responsible for the formation of specific deposits, Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, found in the midbrain of patients with Parkinson?s disease, Alzheimer?s disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and several other neurodegenerative disorders.
Anthony L. Fink1
1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry