Alpha Synuclein: Function

The function of α-synuclein in healthy individuals is poorly understood, however, it has been proposed to regulate vesicular transport between brain cells (Goedert, 2001). Down regulation of α-synuclein in knockout mice and primary neurones confirmed its regulation of synaptic neurotransmission (Kahle et al., 2002). α-synuclein also functions in neurodegeneration; it is the main component of Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, and has been linked to the destruction of dopamine producing neurons which causes the movement problems associated with PD (Goedert, 2001).