Mechanism of cis-inhibition of polyQ fibrillation by polyP: PPII oligomers and the hydrophobic effect.
ABSTRACT: PolyQ peptides teeter between polyproline II (PPII) and beta-sheet conformations. In tandem polyQ-polyP peptides, the polyP segment tips the balance toward PPII, increasing the threshold number of Gln residues needed for fibrillation. To investigate the mechanism of cis-inhibition by flanking polyP segments on polyQ fibrillation, we examined short polyQ, polyP, and tandem polyQ-polyP peptides. These polyQ peptides have only three glutamines and cannot form beta-sheet fibrils. We demonstrate that polyQ-polyP peptides form small, soluble oligomers at high concentrations (as shown by size exclusion chromatography and diffusion coefficient measurements) with PPII structure (as shown by circular dichroism spectroscopy and (3)J(HN-C alpha) constants of Gln residues from constant time correlation spectroscopy NMR). Nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy and molecular modeling suggest that self-association of these peptides occurs as a result of both hydrophobic and steric effects. Pro side chains present three methylenes to solvent, favoring self-association of polyP through the hydrophobic effect. Gln side chains, with two methylene groups, can adopt a conformation similar to that of Pro side chains, also permitting self-association through the hydrophobic effect. Furthermore, steric clashes between Gln and Pro side chains to the C-terminal side of the polyQ segment favor adoption of the PPII-like structure in the polyQ segment. The conformational adaptability of the polyQ segment permits the cis-inhibitory effect of polyP segments on fibrillation by the polyQ segments in proteins such as huntingtin.
Project description:We utilize 198 and 204 nm excited UV resonance Raman spectroscopy (UVRR) and circular dichroism spectroscopy (CD) to monitor the backbone conformation and the Gln side chain hydrogen bonding (HB) of a short, mainly polyGln peptide with a D(2)Q(10)K(2) sequence (Q10). We measured the UVRR spectra of valeramide to determine the dependence of the primary amide vibrations on amide HB. We observe that a nondisaggregated Q10 (NDQ10) solution (prepared by directly dissolving the original synthesized peptide in pure water) exists in a ?-sheet conformation, where the Gln side chains form hydrogen bonds to either the backbone or other Gln side chains. At 60 °C, these solutions readily form amyloid fibrils. We used the polyGln disaggregation protocol of Wetzel et al. [Wetzel, R., et al. (2006) Methods Enzymol.413, 34-74] to dissolve the Q10 ?-sheet aggregates. We observe that the disaggregated Q10 (DQ10) solutions adopt PPII-like and 2.5(1)-helix conformations where the Gln side chains form hydrogen bonds with water. In contrast, these samples do not form fibrils. The NDQ10 ?-sheet solution structure is essentially identical to that found in the NDQ10 solid formed upon evaporation of the solution. The DQ10 PPII and 2.5(1)-helix solution structure is essentially identical to that in the DQ10 solid. Although the NDQ10 solution readily forms fibrils when heated, the DQ10 solution does not form fibrils unless seeded with the NDQ10 solution. This result demonstrates very high activation barriers between these solution conformations. The NDQ10 fibril secondary structure is essentially identical to that of the NDQ10 solution, except that the NDQ10 fibril backbone conformational distribution is narrower than in the dissolved species. The NDQ10 fibril Gln side chain geometry is more constrained than when NDQ10 is in solution. The NDQ10 fibril structure is identical to that of the DQ10 fibril seeded by the NDQ10 solution.
Project description:Fibrillization of polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts in proteins is implicated in at least 10 neurodegenerative diseases. This generates great interest in the structure and the aggregation mechanism(s) of polyQ peptides. The fibrillization of polyQ is thought to result from the peptide's insolubility in aqueous solutions; longer polyQ tracts show decreased aqueous solution solubility, which is thought to lead to faster fibrillization kinetics. However, few studies have characterized the structure(s) of polyQ peptides with low solubility. In the work here, we use UV resonance Raman spectroscopy to examine the secondary structures, backbone hydrogen bonding, and side chain hydrogen bonding for a variety of solution-state, solid, and fibril forms of D2Q20K2 (Q20). Q20 is insoluble in water and has a ?-strand-like conformation with extensive inter- and intrapeptide hydrogen bonding in both dry and aqueous environments. We find that Q20 has weaker backbone-backbone and backbone-side chain hydrogen bonding and is less ordered compared to that of polyQ fibrils. Interestingly, we find that the insoluble Q20 will form fibrils when incubated in water at room temperature for ?5 h. Also, Q20 can be prepared using a well-known disaggregation procedure to produce a water-soluble PPII-like conformation with negligible inter- and intrapeptide hydrogen bonding and a resistance to aggregation.
Project description:In Huntington's disease, expansion of a polyglutamine (polyQ) domain in the huntingtin (htt) protein leads to misfolding and aggregation. There is much interest in the molecular features that distinguish monomeric, oligomeric, and fibrillar species that populate the aggregation pathway and likely differ in cytotoxicity. The mechanism and rate of aggregation are greatly affected by the domains flanking the polyQ segment within exon 1 of htt. A "protective" C-terminal proline-rich flanking domain inhibits aggregation by inducing polyproline II structure (PPII) within an extended portion of polyQ. The N-terminal flanking segment (htt(NT)) adopts an ?-helical structure as it drives aggregation, helps stabilize oligomers and fibrils, and is seemingly integral to their supramolecular assembly. Via solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR), we probe how, in the mature fibrils, the htt flanking domains impact the polyQ domain and in particular the localization of the ?-structured amyloid core. Using residue-specific and uniformly labeled samples, we find that the amyloid core occupies most of the polyQ domain but ends just prior to the prolines. We probe the structural and dynamical features of the remarkably abrupt ?-sheet to PPII transition and discuss the potential connections to certain htt-binding proteins. We also examine the htt(NT) ?-helix outside the polyQ amyloid core. Despite its presumed structural and demonstrated stabilizing roles in the fibrils, quantitative ssNMR measurements of residue-specific dynamics show that it undergoes distinct solvent-coupled motion. This dynamical feature seems reminiscent of molten-globule-like ?-helix-rich features attributed to the nonfibrillar oligomeric species of various amyloidogenic proteins.
Project description:Expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts in proteins, which are known to induce their aggregation, are associated with numerous neurodegenerative diseases. Longer polyQ tracts correlate with faster protein aggregation kinetics and a decreased age of onset for polyQ disease symptoms. Here, we use UV resonance Raman spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, and metadynamics simulations to investigate the solution-state structures of the D2Q15K2 (Q15) and D2Q20K2 (Q20) peptides. Using metadynamics, we explore the conformational energy landscapes of Q15 and Q20 and investigate the relative energies and activation barriers between these low-energy structures. We compare the solution-state structures of D2Q10K2 (Q10), Q15, and Q20 to determine the dependence of polyQ structure on the Q tract length. We show that these peptides can adopt two distinct monomeric conformations: an aggregation-resistant PPII-like conformation and an aggregation-prone ?-strand-like conformation. We find that longer polyQ peptides have an increased preference for the aggregation-prone ?-strand-like conformation. This preference may play an important role in the increased aggregation rate of longer polyQ peptides that is thought to lead to decreased neurodegenerative disease age of onset for polyQ disease patients.
Project description:Although oligomeric intermediates are transiently formed in almost all known amyloid assembly reactions, their mechanistic roles are poorly understood. Recently, we demonstrated a critical role for the 17-amino-acid N-terminus (htt(NT) segment) of huntingtin (htt) in the oligomer-mediated amyloid assembly of htt N-terminal fragments. In this mechanism, the htt(NT) segment forms the ?-helix-rich core of the oligomers, leaving much of the polyglutamine (polyQ) segment disordered and solvent-exposed. Nucleation of amyloid structure occurs within this local high concentration of disordered polyQ. Here we demonstrate the kinetic importance of htt(NT) self-assembly by describing inhibitory htt(NT)-containing peptides that appear to work by targeting nucleation within the oligomer fraction. These molecules inhibit amyloid nucleation by forming mixed oligomers with the htt(NT) domains of polyQ-containing htt N-terminal fragments. In one class of inhibitors, nucleation is passively suppressed due to the reduced local concentration of polyQ within the mixed oligomer. In the other class, nucleation is actively suppressed by a proline-rich polyQ segment covalently attached to htt(NT). Studies with D-amino acid and scrambled sequence versions of htt(NT) suggest that inhibition activity is strongly linked to the propensity of inhibitory peptides to make amphipathic ?-helices. Htt(NT) derivatives with C-terminal cell-penetrating peptide segments also exhibit excellent inhibitory activity. The htt(NT)-based peptides described here, especially those with protease-resistant d-amino acids and/or with cell-penetrating sequences, may prove useful as lead therapeutics for inhibiting the nucleation of amyloid formation in Huntington's disease.
Project description:Expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) stretches lead to protein aggregation and severe neurodegenerative diseases. A highly efficient suppressor of polyQ aggregation was identified, the DNAJB6, when molecular chaperones from the HSPH, HSPA, and DNAJ families were screened for huntingtin exon 1 aggregation in cells (Hageman et al. in Mol Cell 37(3):355-369, 2010). Furthermore, also aggregation of polyQ peptides expressed in cells was recently found to be efficiently suppressed by co-expression of DNAJB6 (Gillis et al. in J Biol Chem 288:17225-17237, 2013). These suppression effects can be due to an indirect effect of DNAJB6 on other cellular components or to a direct interaction between DNAJB6 and polyQ peptides that may depend on other cellular components. Here, we have purified the DNAJB6 protein to investigate the suppression mechanism. The purified DNAJB6 protein formed large heterogeneous oligomers, in contrast to the more canonical family member DNAJB1 which is dimeric. Purified DNAJB6 protein, at substoichiometric molar ratios, efficiently suppressed fibrillation of polyQ peptides with 45°Q in a thioflavin T fibrillation. No suppression was obtained with DNAJB1, but with the closest homologue to DNAJB6, DNAJB8. The suppression effect was independent of HSPA1 and ATP. These data, based on purified proteins and controlled fibrillation in vitro, strongly suggest that the fibrillation suppression is due to a direct protein-protein interaction between the polyQ peptides and DNAJB6 and that the DNAJB6 has unique fibrillation suppression properties lacking in DNAJB1. Together, the data obtained in cells and in vitro support the view that DNAJB6 is a peptide-binding chaperone that can interact with polyQ peptides that are incompletely degraded by and released from the proteasome.
Project description:Amino acid side-chain fluctuations play an essential role in the structure and function of proteins. Accordingly, in theoretical studies of proteins, it is important to have an accurate description of their conformational properties. Recently, new side-chain torsion parameters were introduced into the CHARMM and Amber additive force fields and evaluated based on the conformational properties of the individual side-chains using protein simulations in explicit solvent. While effective for validation, molecular dynamics simulations of proteins must be extended into the microsecond regime to obtain full convergence of the side-chain conformations, limiting their use for force field optimization. To address this, we systematically test the utility of explicit solvent simulations of (Ala)(4)-X-(Ala)(4) peptides, where X represents the amino acids, as model systems for the optimization of ?(1) and ?(2) side-chain parameters. The effect of (Ala)(4)-X-(Ala)(4) backbone conformation was tested by constraining the backbone in the ?-helical, C5, C7(eq), and PPII conformations and performing exhaustive sampling using Hamiltonian replica exchange simulations. Rotamer distributions from protein and the (Ala)(4)-X-(Ala)(4) simulations showed the highest correlation for the C7(eq) and PPII conformations, although agreement was the best for the ?-helical conformation for Asn. Hydrogen bond analysis indicates the utility of the C7(eq) and PPII conformations to be due to specific side-chain-backbone hydrogen bonds not being oversampled, thereby allowing sampling of a range of side-chain conformations consistent with the distributions occurring in full proteins. It is anticipated that the (Ala)(4)-X-(Ala)(4) model system will allow for iterative force field optimization targeting condensed-phase conformational distributions of side-chains.
Project description:The forces stabilizing the three-dimensional structures of membrane proteins are currently not well understood. Previously, it was shown that a single Asn side chain in a transmembrane segment can mediate the dimerization and trimerization of a variety of hydrophobic helices. Here, we examine the tendencies of a representative set of amino acids (Asn, Gln, Asp, Glu, Lys, Ala, Val, Leu, Ser, Thr) to direct the oligomerization of a model transmembrane helix. The model peptide is entirely hydrophobic throughout a 20-residue segment and contains a single central site for the introduction of various amino acid "guests." Analytical ultracentrifugation and gel electrophoresis were used to determine the stoichiometry and free energy of association of the entire set of peptides within micelles. Variants with two polar atoms at the guest site-Asn, Gln, Asp, and Glu-formed stable trimers, whereas residues with one or fewer polar atoms showed a much weaker tendency to associate. The data are examined in light of the frequencies of occurrence of various amino acid side chains in membrane proteins and provide insight into the role of polar interactions in directing transmembrane helix association. These data also suggest an approach to the design of variants of natural single-span transmembrane proteins with various potentials to associate in the bilayer.
Project description:Infrared (IR) spectroscopy has provided considerable insight into the structures, dynamics, and formation mechanisms of amyloid fibrils. IR probes, such as main chain 13C?18O, have been widely employed to obtain site-specific structural information, yet only secondary structures and strand-to-strand arrangements can be probed. Very few nonperturbative IR probes are available to report on the side-chain conformation and environments, which are critical to determining sheet-to-sheet arrangements in steric zippers within amyloids. Polar residues, such as glutamine, contribute significantly to the stability of amyloids and thus are frequently found in core regions of amyloid peptides/proteins. Furthermore, polyglutamine (polyQ) repeats form toxic aggregates in several neurodegenerative diseases. Here we report the synthesis and application of a new nonperturbative IR probe-glutamine side chain 13C?18O. We use side chain 13C?18O labeling and isotope dilution to detect the presence of intermolecularly hydrogen-bonded arrays of glutamine side chains (Gln ladders) in amyloid-forming peptides. Moreover, the line width of the 13C?18O peak is highly sensitive to its local hydration environment. The IR data from side chain labeling allows us to unambiguously determine the sheet-to-sheet arrangement in a short amyloid-forming peptide, GNNQQNY, providing insight that was otherwise inaccessible through main chain labeling. With several different fibril samples, we also show the versatility of this IR probe in studying the structures and aggregation kinetics of amyloids. Finally, we demonstrate the capability of modeling amyloid structures with IR data using the integrative modeling platform (IMP) and the potential of integrating IR with other biophysical methods for more accurate structural modeling. Together, we believe that side chain 13C?18O will complement main chain isotope labeling in future IR studies of amyloids and integrative modeling using IR data will significantly expand the power of IR spectroscopy to elucidate amyloid assemblies.
Project description:To understand the structural basis of molecular elasticity and protein interaction of the elastic PEVK (Pro-Glu-Val-Lys) segment of the giant muscle protein titin, we carried out a detailed analysis of a representative PEVK module and a 16-module PEVK protein under various environmental conditions. Three conformational states, polyproline II (PPII) helix, beta-turn and unordered coil were identified by CD and NMR. These motifs interconvert without long-range co-operativity. As a general trend, the relative content of PPII increases with lower temperature and higher polarity, beta-turn increases with lower temperature and lower polarity, and unordered coil increases with higher temperature and higher polarity. NMR studies demonstrate that trans -proline residues are the predominant form at room temperature (22 degrees C), with little trans -to- cis isomerization below 35 degrees C. Ionic strength affects salt bridges between charged side chains, but not the backbone conformation. We conclude that titin PEVK conformation is malleable and responds to subtle environmental changes without co-operativity. This gradual conformational transition may represent a regulatory mechanism for fine-tuning protein interactions and elasticity.