Histones facilitate α-synuclein aggregation during neuronal apoptosis

Peizhou Jiang, Ming Gan, Shu Hui Yen, Pamela J. McLean, Dennis W. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Ample in vitro and in vivo experimental evidence supports the hypothesis that intercellular transmission of α-synuclein (αS) is a mechanism underlying the spread of αS pathology in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders. What remains unexplained is where and how initial transmissible αS aggregates form. In a previous study, we demonstrated that αS aggregates rapidly form in neurons with impaired nuclear membrane integrity due to the interaction between nuclear proaggregant factor(s) and αS and that such aggregates may serve as a source for αS seeding. In the present study, we identify histones as a potential nuclear proaggregant factor for αS aggregation in both apoptotic neurons and brains with αS pathology. We further demonstrate that histone-induced aggregates contain a range of αS oligomers, including protofibrils and mature fibrils, and that these αS aggregates can seed additional aggregation. Importantly, we demonstrate transmissibility in mouse brains from stereotaxic injection. This study provides new clues to the mechanism underlying initial pathological aggregation of αS in PD and related disorders, and could lead to novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-558
Number of pages12
JournalActa neuropathologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Aggregation
  • Apoptosis
  • Histone
  • Nuclear membrane integrity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Proaggregant nuclear factors
  • α-synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Histones facilitate α-synuclein aggregation during neuronal apoptosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this