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Physico-Pathologic Mechanisms Involved in Neurodegeneration: Misfolded Protein-Plasma Membrane Interactions

Amulya Nidhi Shrivastava, Anita Aperia, Ronald Melki and Antoine Triller.

Several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, are characterized by prominent loss of synapses and neurons associated with the presence of abnormally structured or misfolded protein assemblies. Cell-to-cell transfer of misfolded proteins has been proposed for the intra-cerebral propagation of these diseases. When released, misfolded proteins diffuse in the 3D extracellular space before binding to the plasma membrane of neighboring cells, where they diffuse on a 2D plane. This reduction in diffusion dimension and the cell surface molecular crowding promote deleterious interactions with native membrane proteins, favoring clustering and further aggregation of misfolded protein assemblies. These processes open up new avenues for therapeutics development targeting the initial interactions of deleterious proteins with the plasma membrane or the subsequent pathological signaling.

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Neuron (2017), 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.05.026