Neomorphic moonlighting proteins perform distinct functions under physiological and pathological conditions without alterations at the gene level. The disordered tubulin-polymerization-promoting protein (TPPP/p25), a prototype of neomorphic moonlighting proteins, modulates the dynamics and stability of the microtubule system via its bundling and tubulin acetylation-promoting activities. These physiological functions are mediated by its direct associations with tubulin/microtubules as well as tubulin deacetylases such as histone deacetylase (HDAC) 6. In a normal brain, TPPP/p25 is expressed in oligodendrocytes and plays a crucial role in the formation of projections in the course of differentiation required for axon ensheathment. Under pathological conditions, TPPP/p25 interacts with α-synuclein, an aberrant protein–protein interaction resulting in aggregation leading to the formation of inclusions as clinical symptoms. The co-enrichment and co-localization of TPPP/p25 and α-synuclein were established in human-brain inclusions characteristic of Parkinson's disease (PD) and other synucleinopathies. The binding segments on TPPP/p25 involved in the physiological and the pathological interactions were identified and validated at molecular and cellular levels using recombinant proteins and transfected HeLa and inducible Chinese-hamster ovary (CHO) 10 cells expressing TPPP/p25. Our finding that distinct motifs are responsible for the neomorphic moonlighting feature of TPPP/p25, has powerful innovative effects in anti-Parkinson's disease drug research.

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