Journal Article

GABA transmission via ATP-dependent K+ channels regulates α-synuclein secretion in mouse striatum

Evangelia Emmanouilidou, Georgia Minakaki, Maria V. Keramioti, Mary Xylaki, Evangelos Balafas, Margarita Chrysanthou-Piterou, Ismini Kloukina and Kostas Vekrellis

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 139, issue 3, pages 871-890
Published in print March 2016 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online February 2016 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
GABA transmission via ATP-dependent K+ channels regulates α-synuclein secretion in mouse striatum

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  • Neuropathology
  • Disorders of the Nervous System


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α-Synuclein is readily released in human and mouse brain parenchyma, even though the normal function of the secreted protein has not been yet elucidated. Under pathological conditions, such as in Parkinson’s disease, pathologically relevant species of α-synuclein have been shown to propagate between neurons in a prion-like manner, although the mechanism by which α-synuclein transfer induces degeneration remains to be identified. Due to this evidence extracellular α-synuclein is now considered a critical target to hinder disease progression in Parkinson’s disease. Given the importance of extracellular α-synuclein levels, we have now investigated the molecular pathway of α-synuclein secretion in mouse brain. To this end, we have identified a novel synaptic network that regulates α-synuclein release in mouse striatum. In this brain area, the majority of α-synuclein is localized in corticostriatal glutamatergic terminals. Absence of α-synuclein from the lumen of brain-isolated synaptic vesicles suggested that they are unlikely to mediate its release. To dissect the mechanism of α-synuclein release, we have used reverse microdialysis to locally administer reagents that locally target specific cellular pathways. Using this approach, we show that α-synuclein secretion in vivo is a calcium-regulated process that depends on the activation of sulfonylurea receptor 1-sensitive ATP-regulated potassium channels. Sulfonylurea receptor 1 is distributed in the cytoplasm of GABAergic neurons from where the ATP-dependent channel regulates GABA release. Using a combination of specific agonists and antagonists, we were able to show that, in the striatum, modulation of GABA release through the sulfonylurea receptor 1-regulated ATP-dependent potassium channels located on GABAergic neurons controls α-synuclein release from the glutamatergic terminals through activation of the presynaptic GABAB receptors. Considering that sulfonylurea receptors can be selectively targeted, our study highlights the potential use of the key molecules in the α-synuclein secretory pathway to aid the discovery of novel therapeutic interventions for Parkinson’s disease.

Keywords: α-synuclein; secretion; SUR1; KATP channels; reverse microdialysis; striatum

Journal Article.  11787 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropathology ; Disorders of the Nervous System

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