α-Synuclein (α-Syn) is an intrinsically disordered protein, whose fibrillar aggregates are associated with the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. α-Syn associates with lipid membranes and forms helical structures upon membrane binding. In this study, we explored the helix formation of α-Syn in solution containing trifluoroethanol using small-angle X-ray scattering and electrospray ionization ion mobility mass spectrometry. We then investigated the structural transitions of α-Syn to helical structures via association with large unilamellar vesicles as model lipid membrane systems. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange combined with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry was further utilized to understand the details of the regional interaction mechanisms of α-Syn with lipid vesicles based on the polarity of the lipid head groups. The characteristics of the helical structures were observed with α-Syn by adsorption onto the anionic phospholipid vesicles via electrostatic interactions between the N-terminal region of the protein and the anionic head groups of the lipids. α-Syn also associates with zwitterionic lipid vesicles and forms helical structures via hydrophobic interactions. These experimental observations provide an improved understanding of the distinct structural change mechanisms of α-Syn that originate from different regional interactions of the protein with lipid membranes and subsequently provide implications regarding diverse protein-membrane interactions related to their fibrillation kinetics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry