Molecular interaction of α-synuclein with tubulin influences on the polymerization of microtubule in vitro and structure of microtubule in cells
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Microtubule dynamics is essential for many vital cellular processes such as in intracellular transport, metabolism, and cell division. Evidences demonstrate that α-synuclein may associate with microtubular cytoskeleton and its major component, tubulin. In the present study, the molecular interaction between α-synuclein and tubulin was confirmed by GST pull-down assay and co-immunoprecipitation. The interacting regions within α-synuclein with tubulin were mapped at the residues 60–100 of α-synuclein that is critical for the binding activity with tubulin. Microtubule assembly assays and sedimentation tests demonstrated that α-synuclein influenced the polymerization of tubulin in vitro, revealing an interacting region-dependent feature. Confocal microscopy detected that exposures of α-synuclein proteins inhibited microtubule formation in the cultured cells, with a length-dependent phenomenon. Our data highlight a potential role of α-synuclein in regulating the microtubule dynamics in neurons. The association of α-synuclein with tubulin may further provide insight into the biological and pathophysiological function of synuclein.