Alpha-synuclein and Parkinson’s Disease
Students from King Henry School, Dr. Lidice Cruz Rodriguez and Leandro Cruz Rodriguez
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting millions of people around the world. From the scientific point of view, the development of Parkinson’s disease is associated with the formation of complex protein aggregates (called amyloid fibrils) of a particular biomolecule found in the neurons, the alpha-synuclein.
Understanding the conditions that lead to the formation of these fibrils is a fundamental question that can lead to the early diagnosis and prevention of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. This project aims to analyse a set of experiments carried out in-vitro in a lab at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. All the experiments mimic the cell conditions. The first set of experiments includes only the alpha-synuclein at different concentrations and changes in environmental conditions, such as the ionic strength and crowding agent in the intracellular medium. The second and third set of experiments includes the interaction of alpha-synuclein with other biomolecules with a fundamental role in brain activity, such as ATP, TAU, and two polyamines. The main finding of our analysis is that only by adding the other biomolecules can we impact the phase behaviour of alpha-synuclein.