Simulations of human lysozyme: probing the conformations triggering amyloidosis.
ABSTRACT: A natural mutant of human lysozyme, D67H, causes hereditary systemic nonneuropathic amyloidosis, which can be fatal. In this disease, insoluble beta-stranded fibrils (amyloids) are found in tissues stemming from the aggregation of partially folded intermediates of the mutant. In this study, we specifically compare the conformation and properties of the structures adopted from the induced unfolding, at elevated temperature, using molecular dynamics. To increase the sampling of the unfolding conformational landscape, three 5 ns trajectories are performed for each of the wild-type and mutant D67H proteins resulting in a total of 30 ns simulation. Our results show that the mutant unfolds slightly faster than the wild-type with both wild-type and mutant proteins losing most of their native secondary structure within the first 2 ns. They both develop random transient beta-strands across the whole polypeptide chain. Clustering analysis of all the conformations shows that a high population of the mutant protein conformations have a distorted beta-domain. This is consistent with experimental results suggesting that this region is pivotal in the formation of conformations prone to act as "seeds" for amyloid fiber formation.
Project description:Amyloid diseases such as Alzheimer's and thrombosis are characterized by an aberrant assembly of specific proteins or protein fragments into fibrils and plaques that are deposited in various tissues and organs. The single-domain fragment of a camelid antibody was reported to be able to combat against wild-type human lysozyme for inhibiting in-vitro aggregations of the amyloidogenic variant (D67H). The present study is aimed at elucidating the unbinding mechanics between the D67H lysozyme and VHH HL6 antibody fragment by using steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulations on a nanosecond scale with different pulling velocities. The results of the simulation indicated that stretching forces of more than two nano Newton (nN) were required to dissociate the protein-antibody system, and the hydrogen bond dissociation pathways were computed.
Project description:We report the effects of the interaction of two camelid antibody fragments, generally called nanobodies, namely cAb-HuL5 and a stabilized and more aggregation-resistant variant cAb-HuL5G obtained by protein engineering, on the properties of two amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme, I56T and D67H, whose deposition in vital organs including the liver, kidney, and spleen is associated with a familial non-neuropathic systemic amyloidosis. Both NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallographic studies reveal that cAb-HuL5 binds to the ?-domain, one of the two lobes of the native lysozyme structure. The binding of cAb-HuL5/cAb-HuL5G strongly inhibits fibril formation by the amyloidogenic variants; it does not, however, suppress the locally transient cooperative unfolding transitions, characteristic of these variants, in which the ?-domain and the C-helix unfold and which represents key early intermediate species in the formation of amyloid fibrils. Therefore, unlike two other nanobodies previously described, cAb-HuL5/cAb-HuL5G does not inhibit fibril formation via the restoration of the global cooperativity of the native structure of the lysozyme variants to that characteristic of the wild-type protein. Instead, it inhibits a subsequent step in the assembly of the fibrils, involving the unfolding and structural reorganization of the ?-domain. These results show that nanobodies can protect against the formation of pathogenic aggregates at different stages in the structural transition of a protein from the soluble native state into amyloid fibrils, illustrating their value as structural probes to study the molecular mechanisms of amyloid fibril formation. Combined with their amenability to protein engineering techniques to improve their stability and solubility, these findings support the suggestion that nanobodies can potentially be developed as therapeutics to combat protein misfolding diseases.
Project description:We have created a Drosophila model of lysozyme amyloidosis to investigate the in vivo behavior of disease-associated variants. To achieve this objective, wild-type (WT) protein and the amyloidogenic variants F57I and D67H were expressed in Drosophila melanogaster using the UAS-gal4 system and both the ubiquitous and retinal expression drivers Act5C-gal4 and gmr-gal4. The nontransgenic w(1118) Drosophila line was used as a control throughout. We utilized ELISA experiments to probe lysozyme protein levels, scanning electron microscopy for eye phenotype classification, and immunohistochemistry to detect the unfolded protein response (UPR) activation. We observed that expressing the destabilized F57I and D67H lysozymes triggers UPR activation, resulting in degradation of these variants, whereas the WT lysozyme is secreted into the fly hemolymph. Indeed, the level of WT was up to 17 times more abundant than the variant proteins. In addition, the F57I variant gave rise to a significant disruption of the eye development, and this correlated to pronounced UPR activation. These results support the concept that the onset of familial amyloid disease is linked to an inability of the UPR to degrade completely the amyloidogenic lysozymes prior to secretion, resulting in secretion of these destabilized variants, thereby leading to deposition and associated organ damage.
Project description:Aggregation of proteins is an undesired phenomena that affects both human health and bioengineered products such as therapeutic proteins. Finding preventative measures could be facilitated by a molecular-level understanding of dimer formation, which is the first step in aggregation. Here we present a molecular dynamics (MD) study of dimer formation propensity in human lysozyme and its D67H variant. Because the latter protein aggregates while the former does not, they offer an ideal system for testing the feasibility of the proposed MD approach which comprises three stages: i) partially unfolded conformers involved in dimer formation are generated via high-temperature MD simulations, ii) potential dimer structures are searched using docking and refined with MD, iii) free energy calculations are performed to find the most stable dimer structure. Our results provide a detailed explanation for how a single mutation (D67H) turns human lysozyme from non-aggregating to an aggregating protein. Conversely, the proposed method can be used to identify the residues causing aggregation in a protein, which can be mutated to prevent it.
Project description:The zinc-binding Bbox1 domain in protein MID1, a member of the TRIM family of proteins, facilitates the ubiquitination of the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 2A and alpha4, a protein regulator of PP2A. The natural mutation of residue A130 to a valine or threonine disrupts substrate recognition and catalysis. While NMR data revealed the A130T mutant Bbox1 domain failed to coordinate both structurally essential zinc ions and resulted in an unfolded structure, the unfolding mechanism is unknown. Principle component analysis revealed that residue A130 served as a hinge point between the structured β-strand-turn-β-strand (β-turn-β) and the lasso-like loop sub-structures that constitute loop1 of the ββα-RING fold that the Bbox1 domain adopts. Backbone RMSD data indicate significant flexibility and departure from the native structure within the first 5 ns of the molecular dynamics (MD) simulation for the A130V mutant (>6 Å) and after 30 ns for A130T mutant (>6 Å). Overall RMSF values were higher for the mutant structures and showed increased flexibility around residues 125 and 155, regions with zinc-coordinating residues. Simulated pKa values of the sulfhydryl group of C142 located near A130 suggested an increased in value to ~9.0, paralleling the increase in the apparent dielectric constants for the small cavity near residue A130. Protonation of the sulfhydryl group would disrupt zinc-coordination, directly contributing to unfolding of the Bbox1. Together, the increased motion of residues of loop 1, which contains four of the six zinc-binding cysteine residues, and the increased pKa of C142 could destabilize the structure of the zinc-coordinating residues and contribute to the unfolding.
Project description:Amyloids are protein aggregates consisting of fibrils rich in β-sheets. Growth of amyloid fibrils occurs by the addition of protein molecules to the tip of an aggregate with a concurrent change of a conformation. Thus, amyloids are self-propagating protein conformations. In certain cases these conformations are transmissible / infectious; they are known as prions. Initially, amyloids were discovered as pathological extracellular deposits occurring in different tissues and organs. To date, amyloids and prions have been associated with over 30 incurable diseases in humans and animals. However, a number of recent studies demonstrate that amyloids are also functionally involved in a variety of biological processes, from biofilm formation by bacteria, to long-term memory in animals. Interestingly, amyloid-forming proteins are highly overrepresented among cellular factors engaged in all stages of mRNA life cycle: from transcription and translation, to storage and degradation. Here we review rapidly accumulating data on functional and pathogenic amyloids associated with mRNA processing, and discuss possible significance of prion and amyloid networks in the modulation of key cellular functions.
Project description:The peptide self-assembly mimic (PSAM) from the outer surface protein A (OspA) can form highly stable but soluble beta-rich self-assembly-like structures similar to those formed by native amyloid-forming peptides. However, unlike amyloids that predominantly form insoluble aggregates, PSAMs are highly water-soluble. Here, we characterize the conformations of these soluble beta-sheet-rich assemblies. We simulate PSAMs with different-sized beta-sheets in the presence and absence of end-capping proteins using all-atom explicit-solvent molecular dynamics, comparing the structural stability, conformational dynamics, and association force. Structural and free-energy comparisons among beta-sheets with different numbers of layers and sequences indicate that in similarity to amyloids, the intersheet side chain-side chain interactions and hydrogen bonds combined with intrasheet salt bridges are the major driving forces in stabilizing the overall structural organization. A detailed structural analysis shows that in similarity to amyloid fibrils, all wild-type and mutated PSAM structures display twisted and bent beta-sheets to some extent, implying that a twisted and bent beta-sheet is a general motif of beta-rich assemblies. Thus, our studies indicate that soluble beta-sheet-rich peptide self-assemblies can provide good amyloid mimics, and as such confirm on the atomic scale that they are excellent systems for amyloid studies. These results provide further insight into the usefulness of such mimics for nanostructure design.
Project description:A hallmark of polyglutamine diseases, including Huntington disease (HD), is the formation of beta-sheet-rich aggregates, called amyloid, of causative proteins with expanded polyglutamines. However, it has remained unclear whether the polyglutamine amyloid is a direct cause or simply a secondary manifestation of the pathology. Here we show that huntingtin-exon1 (thtt) with expanded polyglutamines remarkably misfolds into distinct amyloid conformations under different temperatures, such as 4 degrees C and 37 degrees C. The 4 degrees C amyloid has loop/turn structures together with mostly beta-sheets, including exposed polyglutamines, whereas the 37 degrees C amyloid has more extended and buried beta-sheets. By developing a method to efficiently introduce amyloid into mammalian cells, we found that the formation of the 4 degrees C amyloid led to substantial toxicity, whereas the toxic effects of the 37 degrees C amyloid were very small. Importantly, thtt amyloids in different brain regions of HD mice also had distinct conformations. The thermolabile thtt amyloid with loop/turn structures in the striatum showed higher toxicity, whereas the rigid thtt amyloid with more extended beta-sheets in the hippocampus and cerebellum had only mild toxic effects. These studies show that the thtt protein with expanded polyglutamines can misfold into distinct amyloid conformations and, depending on the conformations, the amyloids can be either toxic or nontoxic. Thus, the amyloid conformation of thtt may be a critical determinant of cytotoxicity in HD.
Project description:Steady-state and transient conformational changes upon the thermal unfolding of ubiquitin were investigated with nonlinear IR spectroscopy of the amide I vibrations. Equilibrium temperature-dependent 2D IR spectroscopy reveals the unfolding of the beta-sheet of ubiquitin through the loss of cross peaks formed between transitions arising from delocalized vibrations of the beta-sheet. Transient unfolding after a nanosecond temperature jump is monitored with dispersed vibrational echo spectroscopy, a projection of the 2D IR spectrum. Whereas the equilibrium study follows a simple two-state unfolding, the transient experiments observe complex relaxation behavior that differs for various spectral components and spans 6 decades in time. The transient behavior can be separated into fast and slow time scales. From 100 ns to 0.5 ms, the spectral features associated with beta-sheet unfolding relax in a sequential, nonexponential manner, with time constants of 3 micros and 80 micros. By modeling the amide I vibrations of ubiquitin, this observation is explained as unfolding of the less stable strands III-V of the beta-sheet before unfolding of the hairpin that forms part of the hydrophobic core. This downhill unfolding is followed by exponential barrier-crossing kinetics on a 3-ms time scale.
Project description:Protein aggregation into insoluble fibrillar structures known as amyloid characterizes several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob. Transthyretin (TTR), a homotetrameric plasma protein, is known to be the causative agent of amyloid pathologies such as FAP (familial amyloid polyneuropathy), FAC (familial amyloid cardiomiopathy) and SSA (senile systemic amyloidosis). It is generally accepted that TTR tetramer dissociation and monomer partial unfolding precedes amyloid fibril formation. To explore the TTR unfolding landscape and to identify potential intermediate conformations with high tendency for amyloid formation, we have performed molecular dynamics unfolding simulations of WT-TTR and L55P-TTR, a highly amyloidogenic TTR variant. Our simulations in explicit water allow the identification of events that clearly discriminate the unfolding behavior of WT and L55P-TTR. Analysis of the simulation trajectories show that (i) the L55P monomers unfold earlier and to a larger extent than the WT; (ii) the single alpha-helix in the TTR monomer completely unfolds in most of the L55P simulations while remain folded in WT simulations; (iii) L55P forms, early in the simulations, aggregation-prone conformations characterized by full displacement of strands C and D from the main beta-sandwich core of the monomer; (iv) L55P shows, late in the simulations, severe loss of the H-bond network and consequent destabilization of the CBEF beta-sheet of the beta-sandwich; (v) WT forms aggregation-compatible conformations only late in the simulations and upon extensive unfolding of the monomer. These results clearly show that, in comparison with WT, L55P-TTR does present a much higher probability of forming transient conformations compatible with aggregation and amyloid formation.