The structure of a folding intermediate provides insight into differences in immunoglobulin amyloidogenicity.
ABSTRACT: Folding intermediates play a key role in defining protein folding and assembly pathways as well as those of misfolding and aggregation. Yet, due to their transient nature, they are poorly accessible to high-resolution techniques. Here, we made use of the intrinsically slow folding reaction of an antibody domain to characterize its major folding intermediate in detail. Furthermore, by a single point mutation we were able to trap the intermediate in equilibrium and characterize it at atomic resolution. The intermediate exhibits the basic beta-barrel topology, yet some strands are distorted. Surprisingly, two short strand-connecting helices conserved in constant antibody domains assume their completely native structure already in the intermediate, thus providing a scaffold for adjacent strands. By transplanting these helical elements into beta(2)-microglobulin, a highly homologous member of the same superfamily, we drastically reduced its amyloidogenicity. Thus, minor structural differences in an intermediate can shape the folding landscape decisively to favor either folding or misfolding.
Project description:The balance between protein folding and misfolding is a crucial determinant of amyloid assembly. Transient intermediates that are sparsely populated during protein folding have been identified as key players in amyloid aggregation. However, due to their ephemeral nature, structural characterization of these species remains challenging. Here, using the power of nonuniformly sampled NMR methods we investigate the folding pathway of amyloidogenic and nonamyloidogenic variants of ?2-microglobulin (?2m) in atomic detail. Despite folding via common intermediate states, we show that the decreased population of the aggregation-prone ITrans state and population of a less stable, more dynamic species ablate amyloid formation by increasing the energy barrier for amyloid assembly. The results show that subtle changes in conformational dynamics can have a dramatic effect in determining whether a protein is amyloidogenic, without perturbation of the mechanism of protein folding.
Project description:Prion-like misfolding of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) is associated with the disease ALS, but the mechanism of misfolding remains unclear, partly because misfolding is difficult to observe directly. Here we study the most misfolding-prone form of SOD1, reduced un-metallated monomers, using optical tweezers to measure unfolding and refolding of single molecules. We find that the folding is more complex than suspected, resolving numerous previously undetected intermediate states consistent with the formation of individual β-strands in the native structure. We identify a stable core of the protein that unfolds last and refolds first, and directly observe several distinct misfolded states that branch off from the native folding pathways at specific points after the formation of the stable core. Partially folded intermediates thus play a crucial role mediating between native and non-native folding. These results suggest an explanation for SOD1's propensity for prion-like misfolding and point to possible targets for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Prion diseases are lethal, infectious diseases associated with prion protein (PrP) misfolding. A large number of mammals are susceptible to both sporadic and acquired prion diseases. Although PrP is highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed in all mammals, not all species exhibit prion disease. By employing full length recombinant PrP from five known prion susceptible species (human, cattle, cat, mouse and hamster) and two species considered to be prion resistant (pig and dog) the amyloidogenicity of these PrPs has been delineated. All the mammalian PrPs, even from resistant species, were swiftly converted from the native state to amyloid-like structure when subjected to a native condition conversion assay. The PrPs displayed amyloidotypic tinctorial and ultrastructural hallmarks. Self-seeded conversion of the PrPs displayed significantly decreased lag phases demonstrating that nucleation dependent polymerization is a dominating mechanism in the fibrillation process. Fibrils from A?1-40, A?1-42, Lysozyme, Insulin and Transthyretin did not accelerate conversion of HuPrP whereas fibrils from HuPrP90-231 and HuPrP121-231 as well as full length PrPs of all PrPs efficiently seeded conversion showing specificity of the assay requiring the C-terminal PrP sequence. Our findings have implications for PrP misfolding and could have ramifications in the context of prion resistant species and silent carriers.
Project description:Amyloids are protein aggregates observed in several diseases, for example in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. An aggregate has a very regular beta structure with a tightly packed core, which spontaneously assumes a steric zipper form. Experimental methods enable studying such peptides, however they are tedious and costly, therefore inappropriate for genomewide studies. Several bioinformatic methods have been proposed to evaluate protein propensity to form an amyloid. However, the knowledge of aggregate structures is usually not taken into account. We propose PATH (Prediction of Amyloidogenicity by THreading) - a novel structure-based method for predicting amyloidogenicity and show that involving available structures of amyloidogenic fragments enhances classification performance. Experimental aggregate structures were used in templatebased modeling to recognize the most stable representative structural class of a query peptide. Several machine learning methods were then applied on the structural models, using their energy terms. Finally, we identified the most important terms in classification of amyloidogenic peptides. The proposed method outperforms most of the currently available methods for predicting amyloidogenicity, with its area under ROC curve equal to 0.876. Furthermore, the method gave insight into significance of selected structural features and the potentially most stable structural class of a peptide fragment if subjected to crystallization.
Project description:The amyloidoses are a large group of protein misfolding diseases. Genetic and biochemical evidence support the hypothesis that amyloid formation from wild-type or 1 of 80 sequence variants of transthyretin causes the human amyloid diseases senile systemic amyloidosis or familial amyloid polyneuropathy, respectively. The late onset and variable penetrance of these diseases has led to their designation as multigenic--implying that the expression levels and alleles of multiple gene products influence the course of pathology. Here we show that the binding stoichiometry of three interacting molecules, retinol-binding protein, vitamin A, and L-thyroxine, notably influenced transthyretin amyloidogenicity in vitro. At least 70 genes control retinol-binding protein, vitamin A, and L-thyroxine levels in plasma and have the potential to modulate the course of senile systemic amyloidosis or familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
Project description:Identification of ambiguous encoding in protein secondary structure is paramount to develop an understanding of key protein segments underlying amyloid diseases. We investigate two types of structurally ambivalent peptides, which were hypothesized in the literature as indicators of amyloidogenic proteins: discordant α-helices and chameleon sequences. Chameleon sequences are peptides discovered experimentally in different secondary-structure types. Discordant α-helices are α-helical stretches with strong β-strand propensity or prediction. To assess the distribution of these features in known protein structures, and their potential role in amyloidogenesis, we analyzed the occurrence of discordant α-helices and chameleon sequences in nonredundant sets of protein domains (n = 4263) and amyloidogenic proteins extracted from the literature (n = 77). Discordant α-helices were identified if discordance was observed between known secondary structures and secondary-structure predictions from the GOR-IV and PSIPRED algorithms. Chameleon sequences were extracted by searching for identical sequence words in α-helices and β-strands. We defined frustrated chameleons and very frustrated chameleons based on varying degrees of total β propensity ≥α propensity. To our knowledge, this is the first study to discern statistical relationships between discordance, chameleons, and amyloidogenicity. We observed varying enrichment levels for some categories of discordant and chameleon sequences in amyloidogenic sequences. Chameleon sequences are also significantly enriched in proteins that have discordant helices, indicating a clear link between both phenomena. We identified the first set of discordant-chameleonic protein segments we predict may be involved in amyloidosis. We present a detailed analysis of discordant and chameleons segments in the family of one of the amyloidogenic proteins, the Prion Protein.
Project description:Amyloid fibrils are stable aggregates of misfolded proteins and polypeptides that are insoluble and resistant to protease activity. Abnormal formation of amyloid fibrils in vivo may lead to neurodegenerative disorders and other systemic amyloidosis, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and atherosclerosis. Because of their clinical importance, amyloids are under intense scientific research. It is believed that short polypeptide segments within proteins are responsible for the transformation of correctly folded proteins into parts of larger amyloid fibrils and that this transition is modulated by environmental factors, such as pH, salt concentration, interaction with the cell membrane, and interaction with metal ions. Most studies on amyloids focus on the amyloidogenic sequences. The focus of this study is on the structure of the amyloidogenic α-helical segments because the α-helical secondary structure has been recognized to be a key player in different stages of the amyloidogenesis process. We have previously shown that the α-helical conformation may be expressed by two parameters (θ and ρ) that form orthogonal coordinates based on the Ramachandran dihedrals (φ and ψ) and provide an illuminating interpretation of the α-helical conformation. By performing statistical analysis on α-helical conformations found in the Protein Data Bank, an apparent relation between α-helical conformation, as expressed by θ and ρ, and amyloidogenicity is revealed. Remarkably, random amino acid sequences, whose helical structures were obtained from the most probable dihedral angles, revealed the same dependency of amyloidogenicity, suggesting the importance of α-helical structure as opposed to sequence.
Project description:The amino acid sequence encodes the energy landscape of a protein. Therefore, we expect evolutionary mutations to change features of the protein energy landscape, including the conformations adopted by a polypeptide as it folds to its native state. Ribonucleases H (RNase H) from Escherichia coli and Thermus thermophilus both fold via a partially folded intermediate in which the core region of the protein (helices A-D and strands 4-5) is structured. Strand 1, however, uniquely contributes to the T. thermophilus RNase H folding intermediate (Icore+1 ), but not the E. coli RNase H intermediate (Icore ) (Rosen & Marqusee, PLoS One 2015). We explore the origin of this difference by characterizing the folding intermediate of seven ancestral RNases H spanning the evolutionary history of these two homologs. Using fragment models with or without strand 1 and FRET probes to characterize the folding intermediate of each ancestor, we find a distinct evolutionary trend across the family-the involvement of strand 1 in the folding intermediate is an ancestral feature that is maintained in the thermophilic lineage and is gradually lost in the mesophilic lineage. Evolutionary sequence changes indeed modulate the conformations present on the folding landscape and altered the folding trajectory of RNase H.
Project description:Precise protein folding is essential for the survival of all cells, and protein misfolding causes a number of diseases that lack effective therapies, yet the general principles governing protein folding in the cell remain poorly understood. In vivo, folding can begin cotranslationally and protein quality control at the ribosome is essential for cellular proteostasis. We directly characterize and compare the refolding and cotranslational folding trajectories of the protein HaloTag. We introduce new techniques for both measuring folding kinetics and detecting the conformations of partially folded intermediates during translation in real time. We find that, although translation does not affect the rate-limiting step of HaloTag folding, a key aggregation-prone intermediate observed during in vitro refolding experiments is no longer detectable. This rerouting of the folding pathway increases HaloTag's folding efficiency and may serve as a general chaperone-independent mechanism of quality control by the ribosome.
Project description:Collagen-I is the most abundant protein in the human body, yet our understanding of how the endoplasmic reticulum regulates collagen-I proteostasis (folding, quality control, and secretion) remains immature. Of particular importance, interactomic studies to map the collagen-I proteostasis network have never been performed. Such studies would provide insight into mechanisms of collagen-I folding and misfolding in cells, an area that is particularly important owing to the prominence of the collagen misfolding-related diseases. Here, we overcome key roadblocks to progress in this area by generating stable fibrosarcoma cells that inducibly express properly folded and modified collagen-I strands tagged with distinctive antibody epitopes. Selective immunoprecipitation of collagen-I from these cells integrated with quantitative mass spectrometry-based proteomics permits the first mapping of the collagen-I proteostasis network. Biochemical validation of the resulting map leads to the assignment of numerous new players in collagen-I proteostasis, and the unanticipated discovery of apparent aspartyl-hydroxylation as a new post-translational modification in the N-propeptide of collagen-I. Furthermore, quantitative analyses reveal that Erp29, an abundant endoplasmic reticulum proteostasis machinery component with few known functions, plays a key role in collagen-I retention under ascorbate-deficient conditions. In summary, the work here provides fresh insights into the molecular mechanisms of collagen-I proteostasis, yielding a detailed roadmap for future investigations. Straightforward adaptations of the cellular platform developed will also enable hypothesis-driven, comparative research on the likely distinctive proteostasis mechanisms engaged by normal and disease-causing, misfolding collagen-I variants, potentially motivating new therapeutic strategies for currently incurable collagenopathies.