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Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

Sara Linse


Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

Anomalous Salt Dependence Reveals an Interplay of Attractive and Repulsive Electrostatic Interactions in α-synuclein Fibril Formation


  • Ricardo Gaspar
  • Mikael Lund
  • Emma Sparr
  • Sara Linse

Summary, in English

α-Synuclein (α-syn) is an intrinsically disordered protein with a highly asymmetric charge distribution, whose aggregation is linked to Parkinson’s disease. The effect of ionic strength was investigated at mildly acidic pH (5.5) in the presence of catalytic surfaces in the form of α-syn seeds or anionic lipid vesicles using thioflavin T fluorescence measurements. Similar trends were observed with both surfaces: increasing ionic strength reduced the rate of α-syn aggregation although the surfaces as well as α-syn have a net negative charge at pH 5.5. This anomalous salt dependence implies that short-range attractive electrostatic interactions are critical for secondary nucleation as well as heterogeneous primary nucleation. Such interactions were confirmed in Monte Carlo simulations of α-syn monomers interacting with surface-grafted C-terminal tails, and found to be weakened in the presence of salt. Thus, nucleation of α-syn aggregation depends critically on an attractive electrostatic component that is screened by salt to the extent that it outweighs the screening of the long-range repulsion between negatively charged monomers and negative surfaces. Interactions between the positively charged N-termini of α-syn monomers on the one hand, and the negatively C-termini of α-syn on fibrils or vesicles surfaces on the other hand, are thus critical for nucleation.


  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Theoretical Chemistry
  • eSSENCE: The e-Science Collaboration
  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience

Publishing year





Quarterly Reviews in Biophysics Discovery



Document type

Journal article


Cambridge University Press


  • Biophysics


  • Asymmetric charge distribution
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Secondary nucleation
  • Protein aggregation
  • Self-assembly
  • Salt screening




  • ISSN: 2633-2892