Pathobiochemical effect of acylated steryl-β-glucoside on aggregation and cytotoxicity of α-synuclein

Seigo Usuki, Tetsu Kamitani, Yasuhiro Matsuo, Robert K. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cycad seed consumption by the native islanders of Guam is frequently associated with high rates of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-parkinsonism dementia complex (ALS/PDC); furthermore, accompanying pathological examination often exhibits α-synuclein inclusions in the neurons of the affected brain. Acylated steryl-β-glucoside (ASG) contained in cycad seeds is considered as causative environmental risk factor. We aimed to investigate whether ASG influences aggregation and cell toxicity of α-synuclein. To understand whether ASG is a causative factor in the development of ALS/PDC, soybean-derived ASG was tested for its effect on in vitro aggregation of α-synuclein using Thioflavin-T. ASG was also tested to determine whether it modulates α-synuclein cytotoxicity in yeast cells. In addition, we determined whether an interaction between ASG and α-synuclein occurs in the plasma membrane or cytoplasm using three factors: GM1 ganglioside, small unilamellar vesicles, and ATP. In the present study, we found that ASG-mediated acceleration of α-synuclein aggregation is influenced by the presence of ATP, but not by the presence of GM1. ASG accelerated the α-synuclein aggregation in the cytoplasm. ASG also enhanced α-synuclein-induced cytotoxicity in yeast cells. This study demonstrated that ASG directly enhances aggregation and cytotoxicity of α-synuclein, which are often observed in patients with ALS/PDC. These results, using assays that replicate cytoplasmic conditions, are consistent with the molecular mechanism that cytotoxicity is caused by intracellular α-synuclein fibril formation in neuronal cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1266
Number of pages6
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Acylated steryl glucoside
  • Aggregation
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ganglioside
  • α-Synuclein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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