α-Synuclein is critical in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and related disorders, yet it remains unclear how its aggregation causes degeneration of human dopaminergic neurons. In this study, we induced α-synuclein aggregation in human iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons using fibrils generated de novo or amplified in the presence of brain homogenates from Parkinson's disease or multiple system atrophy. Increased α-synuclein monomer levels promote seeded aggregation in a dose and time-dependent manner, which is associated with a further increase in α-synuclein gene expression. Progressive neuronal death is observed with brain-amplified fibrils and reversed by reduction of intraneuronal α-synuclein abundance. We identified 56 proteins differentially interacting with aggregates triggered by brain-amplified fibrils, including evasion of Parkinson's disease-associated deglycase DJ-1. Knockout of DJ-1 in iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons enhance fibril-induced aggregation and neuronal death. Taken together, our results show that the toxicity of α-synuclein strains depends on aggregate burden, which is determined by monomer levels and conformation which dictates differential interactomes. Our study demonstrates how Parkinson's disease-associated genes influence the phenotypic manifestation of strains in human neurons.
Brain, Cell Death, Dopaminergic Neurons, Humans, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Multiple System Atrophy, Parkinson Disease, Phenotype, Protein Aggregates, Protein Aggregation, Pathological, Protein Conformation, Protein Deglycase DJ-1, Protein Interaction Mapping, alpha-Synuclein