In situ proximity labeling identifies Lewy pathology molecular interactions in the human brain

Bryan A. Killinger, Lee L. Marshall, Diptaman Chatterjee, Yaping Chu, Jose Bras, Rita Guerreiro, Jeffrey H. Kordower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The intracellular misfolding and accumulation of alpha-synuclein into structures collectively called Lewy pathology (LP) is a central phenomenon for the pathogenesis of synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Understanding the molecular architecture of LP is crucial for understanding synucleinopathy disease origins and progression. Here we used a technique called biotinylation by antibody recognition (BAR) to label total (BAR-SYN1) and pathological alpha-synuclein (BAR-PSER129) in situ for subsequent mass spectrometry analysis. Results showed superior immunohistochemical detection of LP following the BAR-PSER129 protocol, particularly for fibers and punctate pathology within the striatum and cortex. Mass spectrometry analysis of BAR-PSER129–labeled LP identified 261 significantly enriched proteins in the synucleinopathy brain when compared to nonsynucleinopathy brains. In contrast, BAR-SYN1 did not differentiate between disease and nonsynucleinopathy brains. Pathway analysis of BAR-PSER129–enriched proteins revealed enrichment for 718 pathways; notably, the most significant KEGG pathway was PD, and Gene Ontology (GO) cellular compartments were the vesicle, extracellular vesicle, extracellular exosome, and extracellular organelle. Pathway clustering revealed several superpathways, including metabolism, mitochondria, lysosome, and intracellular vesicle transport. Validation of the BAR-PSER129–identified protein hemoglobin beta (HBB) by immunohistochemistry confirmed the interaction of HBB with PSER129 Lewy neurites and Lewy bodies. In summary, BAR can be used to enrich for LP from formalin-fixed human primary tissues, which allowed the determination of molecular signatures of LP. This technique has broad potential to help understand the phenomenon of LP in primary human tissue and animal models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2114405119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Immune
  • Iron
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Prion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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