Reduced glucocerebrosidase is associated with increased α-synuclein in sporadic Parkinson’s disease

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Heterozygous mutations in GBA1, the gene encoding lysosomal glucocerebrosidase, are the most frequent known genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Reduced glucocerebrosidase and α-synuclein accumulation are directly related in cell models of Parkinson’s disease. We investigated relationships between Parkinson’s disease-specific glucocerebrosidase deficits, glucocerebrosidase-related pathways, and α-synuclein levels in brain tissue from subjects with sporadic Parkinson’s disease without GBA1 mutations. Brain regions with and without a Parkinson’s disease-related increase in α-synuclein levels were assessed in autopsy samples from subjects with sporadic Parkinson’s disease (n = 19) and age- and postmortem delay-matched controls (n = 10). Levels of glucocerebrosidase, α-synuclein and related lysosomal and autophagic proteins were assessed by Western blotting. glucocerebrosidase enzyme activity was measured using a fluorimetric assay, and glucocerebrosidase and α-synuclein mRNA expression determined by quantitative PCR. Related sphingolipids were analyzed by mass spectrometry. Multivariate statistical analyses were performed to identify differences between disease groups and regions, with non-parametric correlations used to identify relationships between variables. glucocerebrosidase protein levels and enzyme activity were selectively reduced in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease in regions with increased α-synuclein levels although limited inclusion formation, while GBA1 mRNA expression was non-selectively reduced in Parkinson’s disease. The selective loss of lysosomal glucocerebrosidase was directly related to reduced lysosomal chaperone-mediated autophagy, increased α-synuclein and decreased ceramide. glucocerebrosidase deficits in sporadic Parkinson’s disease are related to the abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein and are associated with substantial alterations in lysosomal chaperone-mediated autophagy pathways and lipid metabolism. Our data suggest that the early selective Parkinson’s disease changes are likely due to the redistribution of cellular membrane proteins leading to a chronic reduction in lysosome function in brain regions vulnerable to Parkinson’s disease pathology.
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Murphy, Karen E
Gysbers, Amanda M
Abbott, Sarah K
Tayebi, Nahid
Kim, Woojin S
Sidransky, Ellen
Cooper, Antony
Garner, Brett
Halliday, Glenda
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty