Tracking the localization and dynamics of the intracellular bioactive lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) is important for understanding diverse biological phenomena. Although several PA sensors have been developed, better ones are still needed for comprehensive PA detection in cells. We recently found that α-synuclein (α-Syn) selectively and strongly bound to PA in vitro. Here, we revealed that the N-terminal region of α-Syn (α-Syn-N) specifically bound to PA, with a dissociation constant of 6.6 μm. α-Syn-N colocalized with PA-producing enzymes, diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) β at the plasma membrane (PM), myristoylated DGKζ at the Golgi apparatus, phorbol ester-stimulated DGKγ at the PM, and phospholipase D2 at the PM and Golgi but not with the phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate-producing enzyme in COS-7 cells. However, α-Syn-N failed to colocalize with them in the presence of their inhibitors and/or their inactive mutants. These results indicate that α-Syn-N specifically binds to cellular PA and can be applied as an excellent PA sensor.
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