Skip to main content
  • Meeting abstract
  • Open access
  • Published:

C-terminal part of alpha-synuclein mediates its activity in promoting proliferation of dopaminergic cells


Although abnormal aggregation of alpha-synuclein (α-syn) is involved in several neurodegenerative diseases, its biological functions remain poorly understood, which limits our understanding of its pathogenic mechanisms. α-Syn has been shown to exhibit a MAP-like activity and promote the assembly of microtubules. Since microtubules play a pivotal role in proliferative cell division, it is possible that α-syn affects cell proliferation by facilitating microtubule assembly. The role of α-syn in promoting cell proliferation was reported previously in PC12 dopaminergic cells overexpressing α-syn. Here, we extended this study aiming at finding the association between the cell proliferation effect of α-syn and its microtubule assembly activity, and identifying the potential active domain for the effect α-syn on cell proliferation.


By exploiting the property that the 11-mer repeats of synuclein molecules are able to mediate a rapid intracellular translocation of these proteins across the plasma membrane without being degraded by the cellular proteolytic system, we added recombinant full-length α-syn (wild type and A53T and A30P mutants) and β-syn to the culture medium of MES23.5 dopaminergic cells, and observed their intracellular translocation, subcellular distribution and effects on cell proliferation.


We found that all the synuclein molecules could enter the cells where they were localized in both the cytoplasm and nucleus. However, only the wild-type α-syn, which had been shown to have microtubule assembly activity, was able to promote proliferation of the MES23.5 cells. The A53T and A30P mutant α-syn as well as β-syn, which had been proved not to possess microtubule assembly activity, did not exhibit any effect on cell proliferation. Since the α-syn activity in microtubule assembly was shown to be related to its specific functional domain, we then generated different functional fragments (N-terminal 1-65aa, NAC 66-95aa and C-terminal 96-140aa) and tested their activities in cell proliferation. We showed that all the α-syn fragments could enter the cells, but with different subcellular localizations. The N-terminal and NAC fragments were localized in the cytoplasm and the C-terminal fragment mainly in the nucleus. In accordance with the activity for the C-terminal part of α-syn in microtubule assembly, only the NAC and C-terminal fragments exhibited the activity in cell proliferation. The N-terminal fragment without microtubule assembly activity did not promote cell proliferation.


The above results suggest that the α-syn function in promoting cell proliferation is associated with its microtubule assembly activity with the functional domain localized in its C-terminal part.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Juanjuan Yin, Tao Wang contributed equally to this work.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Yin, J., Wang, T., Han, J. et al. C-terminal part of alpha-synuclein mediates its activity in promoting proliferation of dopaminergic cells. Mol Neurodegeneration 7 (Suppl 1), S21 (2012).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: