Role of Lysosomal Dysfunction in Aggregation and Spreading of Alpha-synuclein in vitro and in vivo

2017 Pilot Project Read More


Principal Investigator: Mark Sands (WashU Medicine)
Collaborators: Albert (Gus) Davis (WashU Neurology), Bruno Benitez (WashU Psychiatry)


Lysosomes are structures inside all cells that are mainly responsible for clearing and recycling damaged or worn out components of the cell. The lysosomes contain enzymes that degrade cellular waste into its constituent components which the cell can recycle or discard. Childhood neurodegenerative diseases can result from severe lysosome failure which subsequently causes cellular waste to accumulate. In recent years, it has been shown that mild lysosome dysfunction predisposes a person to develop Parkinson’s disease. The goals of this project are to determine if lysosome dysfunction caused by genetic defects in lysosome enzymes 1) affects α-Syn uptake, trafficking, aggregation and clearance in cultured primary neurons and 2) affects α-Syn spreading in intact animal models.


Updated April 2021


Pilot project teams include Hope Center faculty members and others. For more about Hope Center faculty on this team, click below.

Mark Sands