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Symbol Synuclein
Pfam PF01387
InterPro IPR001058
SCOP 1xq8
OPM superfamily 159
OPM protein 1xq8

Synucleins are a family of soluble proteins common to vertebrates, primarily expressed in neural tissue and in certain tumors.[1]

Family members[edit]

The synuclein family includes three known proteins: alpha-synuclein, beta-synuclein, and gamma-synuclein. Interest in the synuclein family began when alpha-synuclein was found to be mutated in several families with autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease.[2]

All synucleins have in common a highly conserved alpha-helical lipid-binding motif with similarity to the class-A2 lipid-binding domains of the exchangeable apolipoproteins. Synuclein family members are not found outside vertebrates, although they have some conserved structural similarity with plant 'late-embryo-abundant' proteins.[1]


Normal cellular functions have not been determined for any of the synuclein proteins. Some data suggest a role in the regulation of membrane stability and/or turnover. Mutations in alpha-synuclein are associated with early-onset familial Parkinson's disease and the protein aggregates abnormally in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.[3][4] The gamma-synuclein protein's expression in breast tumors is a marker for tumor progression.[5][6]

Human proteins containing this domain[edit]



  1. ^ a b George JM (2002). "The synucleins". Genome Biol. 3 (1): REVIEWS3002. doi:10.1186/gb-2001-3-1-reviews3002. PMC 150459free to read. PMID 11806835. 
  2. ^ Polymeropoulos MH, Lavedan C, Leroy E, Ide SE, Dehejia A, Dutra A, et al. (1997). "Mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene identified in families with Parkinson's disease.". Science. 276 (5321): 2045–7. doi:10.1126/science.276.5321.2045. PMID 9197268. 
  3. ^ Mezey E, Dehejia A, Harta G, Papp MI, Polymeropoulos MH, Brownstein MJ (1998). "Alpha synuclein in neurodegenerative disorders: murderer or accomplice?". Nat Med. 4 (7): 755–7. doi:10.1038/nm0798-755. PMID 9662355. 
  4. ^ Goedert M (July 2001). "Alpha-synuclein and neurodegenerative diseases". Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 2 (7): 492–501. doi:10.1038/35081564. PMID 11433374. 
  5. ^ Ji H, Liu YE, Jia T, Wang M, Liu J, Xiao G, et al. (1997). "Identification of a breast cancer-specific gene, BCSG1, by direct differential cDNA sequencing.". Cancer Res. 57 (4): 759–64. PMID 9044857. 
  6. ^ Bruening W, Giasson BI, Klein-Szanto AJ, Lee VM, Trojanowski JQ, Godwin AK (May 2000). "Synucleins are expressed in the majority of breast and ovarian carcinomas and in preneoplastic lesions of the ovary". Cancer. 88 (9): 2154–63. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0142(20000501)88:9<2154::AID-CNCR23>3.0.CO;2-9. PMID 10813729. 

External links[edit]