Aggregations of β-amyloid (Aβ) and α-synuclein (αS) into oligomeric and fibrillar assemblies are the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, respectively. Although Aβ and αS affect different regions of the brain and are separated at the cellular level, there is evidence of their eventual interaction in the pathology of both disorders. Characterization of interactions of Aβ and αS at various stages of their aggregation pathways could reveal mechanisms and therapeutic targets for the prevention and cure of these neurodegenerative diseases. In this study, we comprehensively examined the interactions and their molecular manifestations using an array of characterization tools. We show for the first time that αS monomers and oligomers, but not αS fibrils, inhibit Aβ fibrillization while promoting oligomerization of Aβ monomers and stabilizing preformed Aβ oligomers via coassembly, as judged by Thioflavin T fluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, and SDS- and native-PAGE with fluorescently labeled peptides/proteins. In contrast, soluble Aβ species, such as monomers and oligomers, aggregate into fibrils, when incubated alone under the otherwise same condition. Our study provides evidence that the interactions with αS soluble species, responsible for the effects, are mediated primarily by the C-terminus of Aβ, when judged by competitive immunoassays using antibodies recognizing various fragments of Aβ. We also show that the C-terminus of Aβ is a primary site for its interaction with αS fibrils. Collectively, these data demonstrate aggregation state-specific interactions between αS and Aβ and offer insight into a molecular basis of synergistic biological effects between the two polypeptides.
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