Alpha-synuclein (IPR002460)

Short name: Synuclein_alpha

Overlapping homologous superfamilies


Family relationships

  • Synuclein (IPR001058)
    • Alpha-synuclein (IPR002460)


Synucleins are small, soluble proteins expressed primarily in neural tissue and in certain tumors [PMID: 9750188, PMID: 11806835]. The family includes three known proteins: alpha-synuclein, beta-synuclein, and gamma-synuclein. All synucleins have in common a highly conserved alpha-helical lipid-binding motif with similarity to the class-A2 lipid-binding domains of the exchangeable apolipoproteins [PMID: 10952980].

Synuclein family members are not found outside vertebrates, although they have some conserved structural similarity with plant 'late-embryo-abundant' proteins. The alpha- and beta-synuclein proteins are found primarily in brain tissue, where they are seen mainly in presynaptic terminals [PMID: 7857654, PMID: 7877458]. The gamma-synuclein protein is found primarily in the peripheral nervous system and retina, but its expression in breast tumors [PMID: 10813729] is a marker for tumor progression [PMID: 9044857]. Normal cellular functions have not been determined for any of the synuclein proteins, although some data suggest a role in the regulation of membrane stability and/or turnover. Mutations in alpha-synuclein are associated with rare familial cases of early-onset Parkinson's disease, and the protein accumulates abnormally in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and several other neurodegenerative illnesses [PMID: 11433374].

Synelfin from the zebra finch is a homologue of the human alpha-synuclein and may serve a novel function critical to the regulation of vertebrate neural plasticity [PMID: 7646890]. It is regulated during the critical period for song learning.

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0014059 regulation of dopamine secretion

Molecular Function

No terms assigned in this category.

Cellular Component

GO:0005737 cytoplasm

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.