The serotonin aldehyde, 5-HIAL, oligomerizes alpha-synuclein

Yunden Jinsmaa, Adele Cooney, Patricia Sullivan, Yehonatan Sharabi, David S. Goldstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Parkinson's disease (PD) alpha-synuclein oligomers are thought to be pathogenic, and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL), an obligate aldehyde intermediate in neuronal dopamine metabolism, potently oligomerizes alpha-synuclein. PD involves alpha-synuclein deposition in brainstem raphe nuclei; however, whether 5-hydroxyindoleacetaldehyde (5-HIAL), the aldehyde of serotonin, oligomerizes alpha-synuclein has been unknown. In this study we tested whether 5-HIAL oligomerizes alpha-synuclein in vitro and in PC12 cells conditionally over-expressing alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein oligomers were quantified by western blotting after incubation of alpha-synuclein with serotonin and monoamine oxidase-A (MAO-A) to generate 5-HIAL or dopamine to generate DOPAL. Oligomerization of alpha-synuclein in PC12 cells over-expressing the protein was compared between vehicle-treated cells and cells incubated with levodopa to generate DOPAL or 5-hydroxytryptophan to generate 5-HIAL. Monoamine aldehyde mediation of the oligomerization was assessed using the MAO inhibitor, pargyline. Dopamine and serotonin incubated with MAO-A both strongly oligomerized alpha-synuclein (more than 10 times control); pargyline blocked the oligomerization. In synuclein overexpressing PC12 cells, levodopa and 5-hydroxytryptophan elicited pargyline-sensitive alpha-synuclein oligomerization. 5-HIAL oligomerizes alpha-synuclein both in vitro and in synuclein-overexpressing PC12 cells, in a manner similar to DOPAL. The findings may help explain loss of serotonergic neurons in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-137
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde
  • 5-Hydroxyindolealdehyde
  • Dopamine
  • Parkinson' disease
  • Serotonin


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