β2-Adrenoreceptor is a regulator of the α-synuclein gene driving risk of Parkinsonís disease

Authors: Shuchi Mittal, Kjetil BjÝrnevik, Doo Soon Im, Adrian Flierl, Xianjun Dong, Joseph J. Locascio, Kristine M. Abo, Elizabeth Long, Ming Jin, Bing Xu, Yang K. Xiang, Jean-Christophe Rochet, Anders Engeland, Patrizia Rizzu, Peter Heutink, Tim Bartels, Dennis J. Selkoe, Barbara J. Caldarone, Marcie A. Glicksman, Vikram Khurana, Birgitt SchŁle, David S. Park, Trond Riise, Clemens R. Scherzer


Copy number mutations implicate excess production of α-synuclein as a possibly causative factor in Parkinsonís disease (PD). Using an unbiased screen targeting endogenous gene expression, we discovered that the β2-adrenoreceptor (β2AR) is a regulator of the α-synuclein gene (SNCA). β2AR ligands modulate SNCA transcription through histone 3 lysine 27 acetylation of its promoter and enhancers. Over 11 years of follow-up in 4 million Norwegians, the β2AR agonist salbutamol, a brain-penetrant asthma medication, was associated with reduced risk of developing PD (rate ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.58 to 0.76). Conversely, a β2AR antagonist correlated with increased risk. β2AR activation protected model mice and patient-derived cells. Thus, β2AR is linked to transcription of α-synuclein and risk of PD in a ligand-specific fashion and constitutes a potential target for therapies.

Source: Science; 2017, 357 (6354): 891