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Understanding Synuclein Alpha (SNCA) Proteins


Many Parkinson’s disease researchers are focused on reducing the prevalence of Synuclein alpha (SNCA) proteins in neurons as a therapeutic measure.


Facts for Prelims

Understanding Synuclein Alpha (SNCA) Proteins:

Nature of SNCA:

  • Found naturally in healthy cells, SNCA proteins are enigmatic entities.
  • Involvement in Neurodegenerative Diseases:
  • Infamous for their association with age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
Features of SNCA:

Abundance and Location:

  • Predominantly present in neurons, particularly in dopaminergic neurons, positioned near cell nuclei and neuronal junctions.

Structural Characteristics:

  • Capable of both misfolding and forming filamentous structures.
  • Unlike typical proteins with predictable three-dimensional structures, SNCA exhibits multifaceted folding patterns, leading to dysfunctional behavior when misfolded.
Aggregation Patterns:

SNCA exists in two aggregate forms within cells:

  • One disrupts cellular nucleus structural integrity.
  • The other aids in the degradation of misfolded proteins, crucial for cellular health.

Evolution Over Time:

  • Two distinct SNCA populations emerge within cells:
  • Filamentous structures resembling Lewy bodies, located around the nuclei.
  • Smaller clumps known as aggresomes, also near the nuclei, formed as a means of isolating misfolded proteins for subsequent processing.

-Source: Indian Express

June 2024