alpha-Synuclein is a presynaptic protein of unknown function that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. To gain insight into the functions of alpha-synuclein, we sought protein kinases that phosphorylate alpha-synuclein in the central nervous system. In contrast to Lyn, PYK2, FAK, MAPK/ERK1, SAPK/JNK, and Cdk5, only Fyn could phosphorylate alpha-synuclein. In addition, A30P and A53T mutations did not affect the phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein by Fyn. Mutation analysis revealed that activated Fyn phosphorylates specifically tyrosine residue 125 of alpha-synuclein. The distribution of alpha-synuclein and Fyn expression was similar in various parts of the brain and was colocalized in subcellular structures. Since Fyn regulates various signal transduction pathways in the central nervous system and plays an essential role in the neuronal cell differentiation, survival, and plasticity, results of this paper indicate that phosphorylation of alpha-synuclein might be involved in one of the Fyn-mediated signaling pathways in neuronal cells.
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