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The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Strategy to Generate, Characterize, and Distribute Preclinical Alpha-Synuclein Research Tools for Molecular Biology

Mutations in the gene SNCA that encodes the protein alpha-synuclein as well as postmortem pathological studies strongly implicate a general role for alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s disease (PD) pathogenesis. Thus, SNCA and alpha-synuclein are attractive targets for developing novel therapeutic approaches for PD patients. A field-wide challenge in PD research however, is a general lack of availability for high-quality, reproducible, and readily accessible preclinical research tools. To address these challenges, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has developed a growing resource of preclinical tools for the PD research and drug development communities that endeavors to provide researchers with easy access to rigorously validated, research-enabling preclinical tools for molecular biology studies. Here we summarize our characterization and validation data for our anti-alpha-synuclein monoclonal antibody which was recently launched for commercial use. This monoclonal antibody is conformation specific for aggregate alpha-synuclein and binds with very high affinity and exquisite specificity for aggregate over monomeric versions of the protein. Both linear and cyclic epitope mapping data for this antibody are also provided. In addition, we describe our recently developed and commercially launched alpha-synuclein protein library, which contains multiple versions of recombinant alpha-synuclein proteins and a pS129 phospho-mimetic peptide. Moreover, we introduce new alpha-synuclein molecular biology reagents that are currently in development within our preclinical tools pipeline, including an alpha-synuclein aggregation assay. Ultimately, these MJFF-sponsored alpha-synuclein research tools aim to address field-wide challenges in the preclinical tools and reagents space and overall accelerate PD research. 

Authors: Terina N. Martinez, Poul Henning Jensen, Kelvin C. Luk, Lindsey Gottler, Sandy Chou, Blandine Mille-Baker, Folkert Verkaar, Astrid Jensen, Carsten Haber, Lisa Steinbrueck, Hilal A. Lashuel, Bruno Fauvet, Xiaohe Tong, Allison L. Morris, Nicole K. Polinski, Kuldip D. Dave

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