The interplay between Glucocerebrosidase, α-synuclein and lipids in human models of Parkinson's disease

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Mutations in the gene GBA, encoding glucocerebrosidase (GCase), are the highest genetic risk factor for Parkinson's disease (PD). GCase is a lysosomal glycoprotein responsible for the hydrolysis of glucosylceramide into glucose and ceramide. Mutations in GBA cause a decrease in GCase activity, stability and protein levels which in turn lead to the accumulation of GCase lipid substrates as well as α-synuclein (αS) in vitro and in vivo. αS is the main constituent of Lewy bodies found in the brain of PD patients and an increase in its levels was found to be associated with a decrease in GCase activity/protein levels in vitro and in vivo. In this review, we describe the reported biophysical and biochemical changes that GBA mutations can induce in GCase activity and stability as well as the current overview of the levels of GCase protein/activity, αS and lipids measured in patient-derived samples including post-mortem brains, stem cell-derived neurons, cerebrospinal fluid, blood and fibroblasts as well as in SH-SY5Y cells. In particular, we report how the levels of αS and lipids are affected by/correlated to significant changes in GCase activity/protein levels and which cellular pathways are activated or disrupted by these changes in each model. Finally, we review the current strategies used to revert the changes in the levels of GCase activity/protein, αS and lipids in the context of PD.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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