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Study of Wild-Type α-Synuclein Binding and Orientation on Gold Nanoparticles

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Department of Chemistry and Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois at Urbana−Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, United States
*(J.M.G.) E-mail: [email protected]. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 4922. Fax: +44 (0) 20 7882 7732. (C.J.M.) E-mail: [email protected]. Tel: +1 217 333 7680. Fax: +1 217 244 3186.
Cite this: Langmuir 2013, 29, 14, 4603–4615
Publication Date (Web):March 11, 2013
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society

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    The disruption of α-synuclein (α-syn) homeostasis in neurons is a potential cause of Parkinson’s disease, which is manifested pathologically by the appearance of α-syn aggregates, or Lewy bodies. Treatments for neurological diseases are extremely limited. To study the potential use of gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) to limit α-syn misfolding, the binding and orientation of α-syn on Au NPs were investigated. α-Syn was determined to interact with 20 and 90 nm Au NPs via multilayered adsorption: a strong electrostatic interaction between α-syn and Au NPs in the hard corona and a weaker noncovalent protein–protein interaction in the soft corona. Spectroscopic and light-scattering titrations led to the determinations of binding constants for the Au NP α-syn coronas: for the hard corona on 20 nm Au NPs, the equilibrium association constant was 2.9 ± 1.1 × 109 M–1 (for 360 ± 70 α-syn/NP), and on 90 nm Au NPs, the hard corona association constant was 9.5 ± 0.8 × 1010 M–1 (for 5300 ± 700 α-syn/NP). The binding of the soft corona was thermodynamically unfavorable and kinetically driven and was in constant exchange with “free” α-syn in solution. A protease digestion method was used to deduce the α-syn orientation and structure on Au NPs, revealing that α-syn absorbs onto negatively charged Au NPs via its N-terminus while apparently retaining its natively unstructured conformation. These results suggest that Au NPs could be used to sequester and regulate α-syn homeostasis.

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    Cryoelectron imaging of α-syn on Au NP. Kd analysis from fluorescence quenching. Reproducibility of trypsin digestion of α-syn on Au NP. Sample MS spectra from the Au NP surface and supernatant. This material is available free of charge via the Internet at

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