Truncation of a ?-barrel scaffold dissociates intrinsic stability from its propensity to aggregation.
ABSTRACT: ?98? is a functional all-? sheet variant of intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) that was generated by controlled proteolysis. This framework is useful to study the molecular determinants related to aggregation of ?-barrel proteins. Albeit displaying increased conformational plasticity, ?98? exhibits a nativelike ?-barrel topology and is able to support a cooperative folding behavior. Here we present a comparative study of IFABP and ?98? regarding their conformational perturbation and aggregation propensity triggered by trifluoroethanol. Both proteins share a common nucleation-elongation mechanism, whereby the rate-limiting step is the formation of stable dimeric nuclei followed by the association of monomers to the growing aggregates. Despite leading to a less stable structure, the extensive truncation of IFABP yields a form exhibiting a somewhat lower tendency to aggregate. This finding appears at odds with the established notion that a perturbation of the native compact fold should necessarily favor the population of aggregation-prone species. In addition to the aggregation propensity dictated by a given amino-acid sequence, our contention holds that long-range interactions might also play a major role in determining the overall aggregation propensity.
Project description:A clear understanding of the structural foundations underlying protein aggregation is an elusive goal of central biomedical importance. A step toward this aim is exemplified by the ?-barrel motif represented by the intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) and two abridged all-? sheet forms (?98? and ?78?). At odds with the established notion that a perturbation of the native fold should necessarily favor a buildup of intermediate forms with an enhanced tendency to aggregate, the intrinsic stability (?G°H2O) of these proteins does not bear a straightforward correlation with their trifluoroethanol (TFE)-induced aggregation propensity. In view of this fact, we found it more insightful to delve into the connection between structure and stability under sub-aggregating conditions (10% TFE). In the absence of the co-solvent, the abridged variants display a common native-like region decorated with a disordered C-terminal stretch. Upon TFE addition, an increase in secondary structure content is observed, assimilating them to the parent protein. In this sense, TFE perturbs a common native like region while exerting a global compaction effect. Importantly, in all cases, fatty acid binding function is preserved. Interestingly, energetic as well as structural diversity in aqueous solution evolves into a common conformational ensemble more akin in stability. These facts reconcile apparent paradoxical findings related to stability and rates of aggregation. This scenario likely mimics the accrual of aggregation-prone species in the population, an early critical event for the development of fibrillation.
Project description:A lingering issue in the area of protein engineering is the optimal design of beta motifs. In this regard, the framework provided by intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) was successfully chosen to explore the consequences on structure and function of the redesign of natural motifs. A truncated form of IFABP (Delta 98 Delta) served to illustrate the nonintuitive notion that the integrity of the beta-barrel can indeed be compromised with no effect on the ability to attain a native-like fold. This is most likely the outcome of the key role played by the preservation of essential core residues. In the search for the minimal structural determinants of this fold, Delta 98 Delta offered room for further intervention. A dissection of this protein leads to a new abridged variant, Delta 78 Delta, containing 60% of the amino acids of IFABP. Spectroscopic analyses indicate that Delta 78 Delta retains substantial beta-sheet content and preserves tertiary interactions, displaying cooperative unfolding and binding activity. Most strikingly, this construct adopts a remarkably stable dimeric structure in solution. This phenomenon takes advantage of the inherent structural plasticity of this motif, likely profitting from edge-to-edge interactions between beta-sheets, whereas avoiding the most commonly occurring outcome represented by aggregation.
Project description:The protein ataxin-3 contains a polyglutamine stretch that triggers amyloid aggregation when it is expanded beyond a critical threshold. This results in the onset of the spinocerebellar ataxia type 3. The protein consists of the globular N-terminal Josephin domain and a disordered C-terminal tail where the polyglutamine stretch is located. Expanded ataxin-3 aggregates via a two-stage mechanism: first, Josephin domain self-association, then polyQ fibrillation. This highlights the intrinsic amyloidogenic potential of Josephin domain. Therefore, much effort has been put into investigating its aggregation mechanism(s). A key issue regards the conformational requirements for triggering amyloid aggregation, as it is believed that, generally, misfolding should precede aggregation. Here, we have assayed the effect of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, a co-solvent capable of stabilizing secondary structures, especially ?-helices. By combining biophysical methods and molecular dynamics, we demonstrated that both secondary and tertiary JD structures are virtually unchanged in the presence of up to 5% 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol. Despite the preservation of JD structure, 1% of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol suffices to exacerbate the intrinsic aggregation propensity of this domain, by slightly decreasing its conformational stability. These results indicate that in the case of JD, conformational fluctuations might suffice to promote a transition towards an aggregated state without the need for extensive unfolding, and highlights the important role played by the environment on the aggregation of this globular domain.
Project description:The intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) is composed of two beta-sheets with a large hydrophobic cavity into which ligands bind. After eight 4-(19)F-phenylalanines were incorporated into the protein, the acid state of both apo- and holo-IFABP (at pH 2.8 and 2.3) was characterized by means of (1)H NMR diffusion measurements, circular dichroism, and (19)F NMR. Diffusion measurements show a moderately increased hydrodynamic radius while near- and far-UV CD measurements suggest that the acid state has substantial secondary structure as well as persistent tertiary interactions. At pH 2.8, these tertiary interactions have been further characterized by (19)F NMR and show an NOE cross-peak between residues that are located on different beta-strands. Side chain conformational heterogeneity on the millisecond time scale was captured by phase-sensitive (19)F-(19)F NOESY. At pH 2.3, native NMR peaks are mostly gone, but the protein can still bind fatty acid to form the holoprotein. An exchange cross-peak of one phenylalanine in the holoprotein is attributed to increased motional freedom of the fatty acid backbone caused by the slight opening of the binding pocket at pH 2.8. In the acid environment Phe128 and Phe17 show dramatic line broadening and chemical shift changes, reflecting greater degrees of motion around these residues. We propose that there is a separation of specific regions of the protein that gives rise to the larger radius of hydration. Temperature and urea unfolding studies indicate that persistent hydrophobic clusters are nativelike and may account for the ability of ligand to bind and induce nativelike structure, even at pH 2.3.
Project description:The design of beta-barrels has always been a formidable challenge for de novo protein design. For instance, a persistent problem is posed by the intrinsic tendency to associate given by free edges. From the opposite standpoint provided by the redesign of natural motifs, we believe that the intestinal fatty acid binding protein (IFABP) framework allows room for intervention, giving rise to abridged forms from which lessons on beta-barrel architecture and stability could be learned. In this context, Delta98Delta (encompassing residues 29-126 of IFABP) emerges as a monomeric variant that folds properly, retaining functional activity, despite lacking extensive stretches involved in the closure of the beta-barrel. Spectroscopic probes (fluorescence and circular dichroism) support the existence of a form preserving the essential determinants of the parent structure, albeit endowed with enhanced flexibility. Chemical and physical perturbants reveal cooperative unfolding transitions, with evidence of significant population of intermediate species in equilibrium, structurally akin to those transiently observed in IFABP. The recognition by the natural ligand oleic acid exerts a mild stabilizing effect, being of a greater magnitude than that found for IFABP. In summary, Delta98Delta adopts a monomeric state with a compact core and a loose periphery, thus pointing to the nonintuitive notion that the integrity of the beta-barrel can indeed be compromised with no consequence on the ability to attain a native-like and functional fold.
Project description:Protein structural integrity and flexibility are intimately tied to solvation. Here, we examine the effect that changes in bulk and local solvent properties have on protein structure and stability. We observe the change in solvation of an unfolding of the protein model, melittin, in the presence of a denaturant, trifluoroethanol. The peptide system displays a well defined transition in that the tetramer unfolds without disrupting the secondary or tertiary structure. In the absence of local structural perturbation, we are able to reveal exclusively the role of solvation dynamics in protein structure stabilization and the (un)folding pathway. A sudden retardation in solvent dynamics, which is coupled to the change in protein structure, is observed at a critical trifluoroethanol concentration. The large amplitude conformational changes are regulated by the local solvent hydrophobicity and bulk solvent viscosity.
Project description:A hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the accumulation of extracellular amyloid-? (A?) plaques in the brains of patients. N-terminally truncated pyroglutamate-modified A? (pEA?) has been described as a major compound of A? species in senile plaques. pEA? is more resistant to degradation, shows higher toxicity and has increased aggregation propensity and ?-sheet stabilization compared to non-modified A?. Here we characterized recombinant pEA?(3-40) in aqueous trifluoroethanol (TFE) solution regarding its aggregation propensity and structural changes in comparison to its non-pyroglutamate-modified variant A?(1-40). Secondary structure analysis by circular dichroism spectroscopy suggests that pEA?(3-40) shows an increased tendency to form ?-sheet-rich structures in 20% TFE containing solutions where A?(1-40) forms ?-helices. Aggregation kinetics of pEA?(3-40) in the presence of 20% TFE monitored by thioflavin-T (ThT) assay showed a typical sigmoidal aggregation in contrast to A?(1-40), which lacks ThT positive structures under the same conditions. Transmission electron microscopy confirms that pEA?(3-40) aggregated to large fibrils and high molecular weight aggregates in spite of the presence of the helix stabilizing co-solvent TFE. High resolution NMR spectroscopy of recombinantly produced and uniformly isotope labeled [U-15N]-pEA?(3-40) in TFE containing solutions indicates that the pyroglutamate formation affects significantly the N-terminal region, which in turn leads to decreased monomer stability and increased aggregation propensity.
Project description:Aggregation of monoclonal antibodies is often a multi-step process involving structural alterations in monomeric proteins and subsequent formation of soluble or insoluble oligomers. The role of local conformational stability and dynamics of native and/or partially altered structures in determining the aggregation propensity of monoclonal antibodies, however, is not well understood. Here, we investigate the role of conformational stability and dynamics of regions with distinct solvent exposure in determining the aggregation propensity of an IgG1 and IgG2 monoclonal antibody. The temperatures employed span the pre-unfolding range (10-40°C) and the onset temperatures (T onset ) for exposure of apolar residues (? 50°C), alterations in secondary structures (? 60°C) and initiation of visible aggregate formation (? 60°C). Solvent-exposed regions were found to precede solvent-shielded regions in an initiation of aggregation for both proteins. Such a process was observed upon alterations in overall tertiary structure while retaining the secondary structures in both the proteins. In addition, a greater dynamic nature of solvent-shielded regions in potential intermediates of IgG1 and the improved conformational stability increased its resistance to aggregation when compared to IgG2. These results suggest that local conformational stability and fluctuations of partially altered structures can influence the aggregation propensity of immunoglobulins.
Project description:Background. Amyloid secondary structure relies on the intermolecular assembly of polypeptide chains through main-chain interaction. According to this, all proteins have the potential to form amyloid structure, nevertheless, in nature only few proteins aggregate into toxic or functional amyloids. Structural characteristics differ greatly among amyloid proteins reported, so it has been difficult to link the fibrillogenic propensity with structural topology. However, there are ubiquitous topologies not represented in the amyloidome that could be considered as amyloid-resistant attributable to structural features, such is the case of TIM barrel topology. Methods. This work was aimed to study the fibrillogenic propensity of human triosephosphate isomerase (HsTPI) as a model of TIM barrels. In order to do so, aggregation of HsTPI was evaluated under native-like and destabilizing conditions. Fibrillogenic regions were identified by bioinformatics approaches, protein fragmentation and peptide aggregation. Results. We identified four fibrillogenic regions in the HsTPI corresponding to the ?3, ?6, ?7 y ?8 of the TIM barrel. From these, the ?3-strand region (residues 59-66) was highly fibrillogenic. In aggregation assays, HsTPI under native-like conditions led to amorphous assemblies while under partially denaturing conditions (urea 3.2 M) formed more structured aggregates. This slightly structured aggregates exhibited residual cross-? structure, as demonstrated by the recognition of the WO1 antibody and ATR-FTIR analysis. Discussion. Despite the fibrillogenic regions present in HsTPI, the enzyme maintained under native-favoring conditions displayed low fibrillogenic propensity. This amyloid-resistance can be attributed to the three-dimensional arrangement of the protein, where ?-strands, susceptible to aggregation, are protected in the core of the molecule. Destabilization of the protein structure may expose inner regions promoting ?-aggregation, as well as the formation of hydrophobic disordered aggregates. Being this last pathway kinetically favored over the thermodynamically more stable fibril aggregation pathway.
Project description:Structural characterization of misfolded protein aggregates is essential to understanding the molecular mechanism of protein aggregation associated with various protein misfolding disorders. Here, we report structural analyses of ex vivo transthyretin aggregates extracted from human cardiac tissue. Comparative structural analyses of in vitro and ex vivo transthyretin aggregates using various biophysical techniques revealed that cardiac transthyretin amyloid has structural features similar to those of in vitro transthyretin amyloid. Our solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance studies showed that in vitro amyloid contains extensive nativelike ?-sheet structures, while other loop regions including helical structures are disrupted in the amyloid state. These results suggest that transthyretin undergoes a common misfolding and aggregation transition to nativelike aggregation-prone monomers that self-assemble into amyloid precipitates in vitro and in vivo.