We characterized beta-synuclein, the non-amyloidogenic homolog of alpha-synuclein, as an inhibitor of aggregation of alpha-synuclein, a molecule implicated in Parkinson's disease. For this, doubly transgenic mice expressing human (h) alpha- and beta-synuclein were generated. In doubly transgenic mice, beta-synuclein ameliorated motor deficits, neurodegenerative alterations, and neuronal alpha-synuclein accumulation seen in halpha-synuclein transgenic mice. Similarly, cell lines transfected with beta-synuclein were resistant to alpha-synuclein accumulation. halpha-synuclein was coimmunoprecipitated with hbeta-synuclein in the brains of doubly transgenic mice and in the double-transfected cell lines. Our results raise the possibility that beta-synuclein might be a natural negative regulator of alpha-synuclein aggregation and that a similar class of endogenous factors might regulate the aggregation state of other molecules involved in neurodegeneration. Such an anti-amyloidogenic property of beta-synuclein might also provide a novel strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.
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