Alpha-Synuclein Disrupted Dopamine Homeostasis Leads to Dopaminergic Neuron Degeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans
Disruption of dopamine homeostasis may lead to dopaminergic neuron degeneration, a proposed explanation for the specific vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease. While expression of human α-synuclein in C. elegans results in dopaminergic neuron degeneration, the effects of α-synuclein on dopamine homeostasis and its contribution to dopaminergic neuron degeneration in C. elegans have not been reported. Here, we examined the effects of α-synuclein overexpression on worm dopamine homeostasis. We found that α-synuclein expression results in upregulation of dopamine synthesis and content, and redistribution of dopaminergic synaptic vesicles, which significantly contribute to dopaminergic neuron degeneration. These results provide in vivo evidence supporting a critical role for dopamine homeostasis in supporting dopaminergic neuron integrity.
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