A calcineurin- and NFAT-dependent pathway is involved in α-synuclein-induced degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons

Jing Luo, Lixin Sun, Xian Lin, Guoxiang Liu, Jia Yu, Loukia Parisiadou, Chengsong Xie, Jinhui Ding, Huaibin Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD), the most common degenerative movement disorder, is caused by a preferential loss of midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neurons. Both α-synuclein (α-syn) missense and multiplication mutations have been linked to PD. However, the underlying intracellular signalling transduction pathways of α-syn-mediated mDA neurodegeneration remain elusive. Here, we show that transgenic expression of PD-related human α-syn A53T missense mutation promoted calcineurin (CN) activity and the subsequent nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATs) in mDA neurons. α-syn enhanced the phosphatase activity of CN in both cell-free assays and cell lines transfected with either human wild-type or A53T α-syn. Furthermore, overexpression of α-syn A53T mutation significantly increased the CN-dependent nuclear import of NFATc3 in the mDA neurons of transgenic mice. More importantly, a pharmacological inhibition of CN by cyclosporine A (CsA) ameliorated the α-syn-induced loss of mDA neurons. These findings demonstrate an active involvement of CN- and NFAT-mediated signalling pathway in α-syn-mediated degeneration of mDA neurons in PD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6567-6574
Number of pages8
JournalHuman molecular genetics
Volume23
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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