American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:286 issue:30 pages:26687-26701
FK506 binding proteins (FKBPs) are members of the immunophilins, enzymes that assist protein folding with their peptidyl-prolyl isomerase (PPIase) activity. Some non-immunosuppressive inhibitors of these enzymes have neuroregenerative and neuroprotective properties with an unknown mechanism of action. We have previously shown that FKBPs accelerate the aggregation of alpha-synuclein (α-SYN) in vitro and in a neuronal cell culture model for synucleinopathy. In this study, we investigated whether acceleration of α-SYN aggregation is specific for the FKBP or even the PPIase family. Therefore, we studied the effect of several physiologically relevant PPIases, namely FKBP12, FKBP38, FKBP52, FKBP65, Pin1 and cyclophilin A, on α-SYN aggregation in vitro and in neuronal cell culture. Among all PPIases tested in vitro, FKBP12 accelerated α-SYN aggregation the most. Furthermore, only FKBP12 accelerated α-SYN fibril formation at subnanomolar concentrations, pointing towards an enzymatic effect. Although stable overexpression of various FKBPs enhanced the aggregation of α-SYN and cell death in cell culture, they were less potent than FKBP12. When FKBP38, FKBP52 and FKBP65 were overexpressed in a stable FKBP12 knockdown cell line, they could not fully restore the number of α-SYN inclusion-positive cells. Both in vitro and cell culture data provide strong evidence that FKBP12 is the most important PPIase modulating α-SYN aggregation and validate the protein as an interesting drug target for Parkinson's disease.