Alpha-synuclein induces the unfolded protein response in Parkinson's disease SNCA triplication iPSC-derived neurons

Sabrina M. Heman-Ackah, Raquel Manzano, Jeroen J. M. Hoozemans, Wiep Scheper, Rowan Flynn, Wilfried Haerty, Sally A. Cowley, Andrew R. Bassett, Matthew J. A. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


The recent generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a patient with Parkinson's disease (PD) resulting from triplication of the α-synuclein (SNCA) gene locus allows unprecedented opportunities to explore its contribution to the molecular pathogenesis of PD. We used the double-nicking CRISPR/Cas9 system to conduct site-specific mutagenesis of SNCA in these cells, generating an isogenic iPSC line with normalized SNCA gene dosage. Comparative gene expression analysis of neuronal derivatives from these iPSCs revealed an ER stress phenotype, marked by induction of the IRE1a/XBP1 axis of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and culminating in terminal UPR activation. Neuropathological analysis of post-mortem brain tissue demonstrated that pIRE1a is expressed in PD brains within neurons containing elevated levels of α-synuclein or Lewy bodies. Having used this pair of isogenic iPSCs to define this phenotype, these cells can be further applied in UPR-targeted drug discovery towards the development of disease-modifying therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4441-4450
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number22
Early online date1 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017

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