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Lipid Induced Aggregation of Alpha-Synuclein

Dopaminergic cell groups are collections of neurons in the central nervous system that play an important role in multiple brain functions such as behavioral processes and voluntary movement. Alpha synuclein (αS) is an intrinsically disordered protein that is expressed in dopaminergic neurons in the brain. Moreover, the aggregation of αS is linked to neurodegenerative disorders like Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. In the cell, αS is known to interact with lipids to carry out i ts function, however, in the disease state the interaction with lipids is compromised. In in vitro conditions, lipids can induce αS aggregation. During the summer, I investigated the role of lipid induced αS aggregation so that our lab can potentially develop small molecule ligands against lipid induced aggregation. This was done by performing ThT based aggregation assays to better understand the αS aggregation in the presence of lipids or SDS.

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