Low molar excess of 4-oxo-2-nonenal and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal promote oligomerization of alpha-synuclein through different pathways

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Aggregated alpha-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies, intraneuronal inclusions found in brains with Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. A body of evidence implicates oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of these diseases. For example, a large excess (30:1, aldehyde:protein) of the lipid peroxidation end products 4-oxo-2-nonenal (ONE) or 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE) can induce alpha-synuclein oligomer formation. The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of these reactive aldehydes on alpha-synuclein at a lower molar excess (3:1) at both physiological (7.4) and acidic (5.4) pH. As observed by size-exclusion chromatography, ONE rapidly induced the formation of alpha-synuclein oligomers at both pH values, but the effect was less pronounced under the acidic condition. In contrast, only a small proportion of alpha-synuclein oligomers were formed with low excess HNE-treatment at physiological pH and no oligomers at all under the acidic condition. With prolonged incubation times (up to 96 h), more alpha-synuclein was oligomerized at physiological pH for both ONE and HNE. As determined by Western blot, ONE-oligomers were more SDS-stable and to a higher-degree cross-linked as compared to the HNE-induced oligomers. However, as shown by their greater sensitivity to proteinase K treatment, ONE-oligomers, exhibited a less compact structure than HNE-oligomers. As indicated by mass spectrometry, ONE modified most Lys residues, whereas HNE primarily modified the His50 residue and fewer Lys residues, albeit to a higher degree than ONE. Taken together, our data show that the aldehydes ONE and HNE can modify alpha-synuclein and induce oligomerization, even at low molar excess, but to a higher degree at physiological pH and seemingly through different pathways.Graphical abstractHighlightsLow molar excess of ONE and HNE induces alpha-synuclein oligomerization.At pH 5.4, ONE induces fewer oligomers and HNE does not induce oligomerization.ONE oligomers are formed faster and are less compact than HNE oligomers.Most Lys are modified by ONE, but His50 is the main modification site for HNE.ONE and HNE form alpha-synuclein oligomers through different pathways.

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