Amyloid oligomer conformation in a group of natively folded proteins.
ABSTRACT: Recent in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that destabilized proteins with defective folding induce aggregation and toxicity in protein-misfolding diseases. One such unstable protein state is called amyloid oligomer, a precursor of fully aggregated forms of amyloid. Detection of various amyloid oligomers with A11, an anti-amyloid oligomer conformation-specific antibody, revealed that the amyloid oligomer represents a generic conformation and suggested that toxic beta-aggregation processes possess a common mechanism. By using A11 antibody as a probe in combination with mass spectrometric analysis, we identified GroEL in bacterial lysates as a protein that may potentially have an amyloid oligomer conformation. Surprisingly, A11 reacted not only with purified GroEL but also with several purified heat shock proteins, including human Hsp27, 40, 70, 90; yeast Hsp104; and bovine Hsc70. The native folds of A11-reactive proteins in purified samples were characterized by their anti-beta-aggregation activity in terms of both functionality and in contrast to the beta-aggregation promoting activity of misfolded pathogenic amyloid oligomers. The conformation-dependent binding of A11 with natively folded Hsp27 was supported by the concurrent loss of A11 reactivity and anti-beta-aggregation activity of heat-treated Hsp27 samples. Moreover, we observed consistent anti-beta-aggregation activity not only by chaperones containing an amyloid oligomer conformation but also by several A11-immunoreactive non-chaperone proteins. From these results, we suggest that the amyloid oligomer conformation is present in a group of natively folded proteins. The inhibitory effects of A11 antibody on both GroEL/ES-assisted luciferase refolding and Hsp70-mediated decelerated nucleation of Abeta aggregation suggested that the A11-binding sites on these chaperones might be functionally important. Finally, we employed a computational approach to uncover possible A11-binding sites on these targets. Since the beta-sheet edge was a common structural motif having the most similar physicochemical properties in the A11-reactive proteins we analyzed, we propose that the beta-sheet edge in some natively folded amyloid oligomers is designed positively to prevent beta aggregation.
Project description:Genetic, biochemical, and pharmacologic evidence supports the hypothesis that conformationally altered or misfolded protein states enable aggregation and cytotoxicity in the systemic amyloid diseases. Reversible structural fluctuations of natively folded proteins are involved in the aggregation of many degenerative disease associated proteins. Herein, we use antibody light chains (LCs) that form amyloid fibrils in AL amyloidosis to consider an alternative hypothesis of amyloidogenesis: that transient unfolding and incomplete extracellular refolding of secreted proteins can lead to metastable, alternatively folded states that are more susceptible to aggregation or to endoproteolysis that can release aggregation-prone fragments. Refolding of full-length ?6a LC dimers comprising an interchain disulfide bond from heat- or chaotrope-denatured ensembles in buffers yields the native dimeric state as well as alternatively folded dimers and aggregates. LC variants lacking an interchain disulfide bond appear to refold fully reversibly to the native state. The conformation of a backbone peptidyl-proline amide in the LC constant domain, which is cis in the native state, may determine whether the LC refolds back to the native state. A proline to alanine (P147A) LC variant, which cannot form the native cis-amide conformation, forms amyloid fibrils from the alternatively folded ensemble, whereas all the full-length ?6a LCs we have studied to date do not form amyloid under analogous conditions. P147A LC variants are susceptible to endoproteolysis by thrombin, enabling amyloidogenesis of the fragments released. Thus, non-native LC structural ensembles containing a tyrosine 146-proline 147 trans-amide bond can initiate and propagate amyloid formation, either directly or after aberrant endoproteolysis.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:As a molecular chaperone, acetylcholinesterase (AChE; EC 22.214.171.124) plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The peripheral anionic site (PAS) of AChE has been indicated as the amyloid-β (Aβ) binding domain. The goal of this study was to determine other motifs in AChE involved in Aβ aggregation and deposition. METHODS AND RESULTS:The β-hairpin in monomeric Aβ is the key motif of nucleation-dependent Aβ self-aggregation. As AChE could induce Aβ aggregation and deposition, we searched AChE for β-hairpin structures. In A11-specific dot blot assay, AChE was detected by an oligomer-specific antibody A11, implying the existence of β-hairpin structures in AChE as β-hairpin was the core motif of oligomers. A molecular superimposing approach further revealed that the N-terminal region, from Glu7 to Ile20, in AChE (AChE 7-20) was similar to the β-hairpin domain in Aβ. The results of further dot blot assays, thioflavin T fluorescence assays, and electron microscopy imaging experiments, indicated that the N-terminal synthetic peptide AChE7-20 had nearly the same ability as AChE with regard to triggering Aβ aggregation and deposition. CONCLUSIONS:AChE 7-20, a β-hairpin region in AChE, might be a new motif in AChE capable of triggering Aβ aggregation and deposition. This finding will be helpful to design new and more effective Aβ aggregation inhibitors for AD treatment.
Project description:Beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m) is a 99-residue protein that aggregates to form amyloid fibrils in dialysis-related amyloidosis. The protein provides a powerful model for exploration of the structural molecular mechanisms of fibril formation from a full-length protein in vitro. Fibrils have been assembled from beta(2)m under both low pH conditions, where the precursor is disordered, and at neutral pH where the protein is initially natively folded. Here we discuss the roles of sequence and structure in amyloid formation, the current understanding of the structural mechanisms of the early stages of aggregation of beta(2)m at both low and neutral pH, and the common and distinct features of these assembly pathways.
Project description:Protein misfolding and aggregation are associated with a number of human degenerative diseases. In spite of the enormous research efforts to develop effective strategies aimed at interfering with the pathogenic cascades induced by misfolded/aggregated peptides/proteins, the necessary detailed understanding of the molecular bases of amyloid formation and toxicity is still lacking. To this aim, approaches able to provide a global insight in amyloid-mediated physiological alterations are of importance. In this study, we exploited Fourier transform infrared microspectroscopy, supported by multivariate analysis, to investigate in situ the spectral changes occurring in cultured intact HL-1 cardiomyocytes exposed to wild type (WT) or mutant (L55P) transthyretin (TTR) in native, or amyloid conformation. The presence of extracellular deposits of amyloid aggregates of WT or L55P TTR, respectively, is a key hallmark of two pathological conditions, known as senile systemic amyloidosis and familial amyloid polyneuropathy. We found that the major effects, associated with modifications in lipid properties and in the cell metabolic/phosphorylation status, were observed when natively folded WT or L55P TTR was administered to the cells. The effects induced by aggregates of TTR were milder and in some cases displayed a different timing compared to those elicited by the natively folded protein.
Project description:Amyloid fibrils derived from antibody light chains are key pathogenic agents in systemic AL amyloidosis. They can be deposited in multiple organs but cardiac amyloid is the major risk factor of mortality. Here we report the structure of a ?1 AL amyloid fibril from an explanted human heart at a resolution of 3.3?Å which we determined using cryo-electron microscopy. The fibril core consists of a 91-residue segment presenting an all-beta fold with ten mutagenic changes compared to the germ line. The conformation differs substantially from natively folded light chains: a rotational switch around the intramolecular disulphide bond being the crucial structural rearrangement underlying fibril formation. Our structure provides insight into the mechanism of protein misfolding and the role of patient-specific mutations in pathogenicity.
Project description:There are more than 30 human proteins whose aggregation appears to cause degenerative maladies referred to as amyloid diseases or amyloidoses. These disorders are named after the characteristic cross-?-sheet amyloid fibrils that accumulate systemically or are localized to specific organs. In most cases, current treatment is limited to symptomatic approaches and thus disease-modifying therapies are needed. Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with extracellular amyloid ?-peptide (A?) fibrils and intracellular tau neurofibrillary tangles as pathological hallmarks. Numerous clinical trials have been conducted with passive and active immunotherapy, and small molecules to inhibit A? formation and aggregation or to enhance A? clearance; so far such clinical trials have been unsuccessful. Novel strategies are therefore required and here we will discuss the possibility of utilizing the chaperone BRICHOS to prevent A? aggregation and toxicity. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is symptomatically treated with insulin. However, the underlying pathology is linked to the aggregation and progressive accumulation of islet amyloid polypeptide as fibrils and oligomers, which are cytotoxic. Several compounds have been shown to inhibit islet amyloid aggregation and cytotoxicity in vitro. Future animal studies and clinical trials have to be conducted to determine their efficacy in vivo. The transthyretin (TTR) amyloidoses are a group of systemic degenerative diseases compromising multiple organ systems, caused by TTR aggregation. Liver transplantation decreases the generation of misfolded TTR and improves the quality of life for a subgroup of this patient population. Compounds that stabilize the natively folded, nonamyloidogenic, tetrameric conformation of TTR have been developed and the drug tafamidis is available as a promising treatment.
Project description:Soluble oligomeric aggregates of the amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although the conformation adopted by Abeta within these aggregates is not known, a beta-hairpin conformation is known to be accessible to monomeric Abeta. Here we show that this beta-hairpin is a building block of toxic Abeta oligomers by engineering a double-cysteine mutant (called Abetacc) in which the beta-hairpin is stabilized by an intramolecular disulfide bond. Abeta(40)cc and Abeta(42)cc both spontaneously form stable oligomeric species with distinct molecular weights and secondary-structure content, but both are unable to convert into amyloid fibrils. Biochemical and biophysical experiments and assays with conformation-specific antibodies used to detect Abeta aggregates in vivo indicate that the wild-type oligomer structure is preserved and stabilized in Abetacc oligomers. Stable oligomers are expected to become highly toxic and, accordingly, we find that beta-sheet-containing Abeta(42)cc oligomers or protofibrillar species formed by these oligomers are 50 times more potent inducers of neuronal apoptosis than amyloid fibrils or samples of monomeric wild-type Abeta(42), in which toxic aggregates are only transiently formed. The possibility of obtaining completely stable and physiologically relevant neurotoxic Abeta oligomer preparations will facilitate studies of their structure and role in the pathogenesis of AD. For example, here we show how kinetic partitioning into different aggregation pathways can explain why Abeta(42) is more toxic than the shorter Abeta(40), and why certain inherited mutations are linked to protofibril formation and early-onset AD.
Project description:Misfolding and aggregation of normally soluble proteins into amyloid fibrils and their deposition and accumulation underlies a variety of clinically significant diseases. Fibrillar aggregates with amyloid-like properties can also be generated in vitro from pure proteins and peptides, including those not known to be associated with amyloidosis. Whereas biophysical studies of amyloid-like fibrils formed in vitro have provided important insights into the molecular mechanisms of amyloid generation and the structural properties of the fibrils formed, amyloidogenic proteins are typically exposed to mild or more extreme denaturing conditions to induce rapid fibril formation in vitro. Whether the structure of the resulting assemblies is representative of their natural in vivo counterparts, thus, remains a fundamental unresolved issue. Here we show using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy that amyloid-like fibrils formed in vitro from natively folded or unfolded beta(2)-microglobulin (the protein associated with dialysis-related amyloidosis) adopt an identical beta-sheet architecture. The same beta-strand signature is observed whether fibril formation in vitro occurs spontaneously or from seeded reactions. Comparison of these spectra with those of amyloid fibrils extracted from patients with dialysis-related amyloidosis revealed an identical amide I' absorbance maximum, suggestive of a characteristic and conserved amyloid fold. Our results endorse the relevance of biophysical studies for the investigation of the molecular mechanisms of beta(2)-microglobulin fibrillogenesis, knowledge about which may inform understanding of the pathobiology of this protein.
Project description:Single-particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) is an emerging tool for resolving structures of conformationally heterogeneous particles; however, each structure is derived from an average of many particles with presumed identical conformations. We used a 3.5-Å cryo-EM reconstruction with imposed D7 symmetry to further analyze structural heterogeneity among chemically identical subunits in each GroEL oligomer. Focused classification of the 14 subunits in each oligomer revealed three dominant classes of subunit conformations. Each class resembled a distinct GroEL crystal structure in the Protein Data Bank. The conformational differences stem from the orientations of the apical domain. We mapped each conformation class to its subunit locations within each GroEL oligomer in our dataset. The spatial distributions of each conformation class differed among oligomers, and most oligomers contained 10-12 subunits of the three dominant conformation classes. Adjacent subunits were found to more likely assume the same conformation class, suggesting correlation among subunits in the oligomer. This study demonstrates the utility of cryo-EM in revealing structure dynamics within a single protein oligomer.
Project description:A pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is an accumulation of insoluble plaque containing the amyloid-beta peptide of 40-42 amino acid residues. Prefibrillar, soluble oligomers of amyloid-beta have been recognized to be early and key intermediates in Alzheimer's-disease-related synaptic dysfunction. At nanomolar concentrations, soluble amyloid-beta oligomers block hippocampal long-term potentiation, cause dendritic spine retraction from pyramidal cells and impair rodent spatial memory. Soluble amyloid-beta oligomers have been prepared from chemical syntheses, transfected cell culture supernatants, transgenic mouse brain and human Alzheimer's disease brain. Together, these data imply a high-affinity cell-surface receptor for soluble amyloid-beta oligomers on neurons-one that is central to the pathophysiological process in Alzheimer's disease. Here we identify the cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) as an amyloid-beta-oligomer receptor by expression cloning. Amyloid-beta oligomers bind with nanomolar affinity to PrP(C), but the interaction does not require the infectious PrP(Sc) conformation. Synaptic responsiveness in hippocampal slices from young adult PrP null mice is normal, but the amyloid-beta oligomer blockade of long-term potentiation is absent. Anti-PrP antibodies prevent amyloid-beta-oligomer binding to PrP(C) and rescue synaptic plasticity in hippocampal slices from oligomeric amyloid-beta. Thus, PrP(C) is a mediator of amyloid-beta-oligomer-induced synaptic dysfunction, and PrP(C)-specific pharmaceuticals may have therapeutic potential for Alzheimer's disease.