Lycorine, a natural alkaloid, promotes the degradation of alpha-synuclein via PKA-mediated UPS activation in transgenic Parkinson's disease models.Phytomedicine. 2021 Jul; 87:153578.P
Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative motor disorders, and is characterized by the presence of Lewy bodies containing misfolded α-synuclein (α-syn) and by selective degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons. Studies have shown that upregulation of ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) activity promotes the clearance of aggregation-prone proteins such as α-syn and Tau, so as to alleviate the neuropathology of neurodegenerative diseases.
To identify and investigate lycorine as a UPS enhancer able to decrease α-syn in transgenic PD models.
Dot blot was used to screen α-syn-lowering compounds in an inducible α-syn overexpression cell model. Inducible wild-type (WT) and mutant α-syn-overexpressing PC12 cells, WT α-syn-overexpressing N2a cells and primary cultured neurons from A53T transgenic mice were used to evaluate the effects of lycorine on α-syn degradation in vitro. Heterozygous A53T transgenic mice were used to evaluate the effects of lycorine on α-syn degradation in vivo. mCherry-GFP-LC3 reporter was used to detect autophagy-dependent degradation. Ub-R-GFP and Ub-G76V-GFP reporters were used to detect UPS-dependent degradation. Proteasome activity was detected by fluorogenic substrate Suc-Leu-Leu-Val-Tyr-AMC (Suc-LLVY-AMC).
Lycorine significantly promoted clearance of over-expressed WT and mutant α-syn in neuronal cell lines and primary cultured neurons. More importantly, 15 days' intraperitoneal administration of lycorine effectively promoted the degradation of α-syn in the brains of A53T transgenic mice. Mechanistically, lycorine accelerated α-syn degradation by activating cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) to promote proteasome activity.
Lycorine is a novel α-syn-lowering compound that works through PKA-mediated UPS activation. This ability to lower α-syn implies that lycorine has the potential to be developed as a pharmaceutical for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as PD, associated with UPS impairment and protein aggregations.