Alpha-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies, the clumps of aggregated proteins that form in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients. The alpha-synuclein gene is mutated or triplicated in some cases of inherited Parkinson's. A process called chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) plays an important role in recycling of specific proteins in brain cells. Alpha-synuclein disrupts a key survival circuit in brain cells by interfering with CMA and the recycling of the protein MEF2D.
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