A monomer-trimer model supports intermittent glucagon fibril growth.
ABSTRACT: We investigate in vitro fibrillation kinetics of the hormone peptide glucagon at various concentrations using confocal microscopy and determine the glucagon fibril persistence length 60μm. At all concentrations we observe that periods of individual fibril growth are interrupted by periods of stasis. The growth probability is large at high and low concentrations and is reduced for intermediate glucagon concentrations. To explain this behavior we propose a simple model, where fibrils come in two forms, one built entirely from glucagon monomers and one entirely from glucagon trimers. The opposite building blocks act as fibril growth blockers, and this generic model reproduces experimental behavior well.
Project description:Using the peptide hormone glucagon and Abeta(1-40) as model systems, we have sought to elucidate the mechanisms by which fibrils grow and multiply. We here present real-time observations of growing fibrils at a single-fibril level. Growing from preformed seeds, glucagon fibrils were able to generate new fibril ends by continuously branching into new fibrils. To our knowledge, this is the first time amyloid fibril branching has been observed in real-time. Glucagon fibrils formed by branching always grew in the forward direction of the parent fibril with a preferred angle of 35-40 degrees . Furthermore, branching never occurred at the tip of the parent fibril. In contrast, in a previous study by some of us, Abeta(1-40) fibrils grew exclusively by elongation of preformed seeds. Fibrillation kinetics in bulk solution were characterized by light scattering. A growth process with branching, or other processes that generate new ends from existing fibrils, should theoretically give rise to different fibrillation kinetics than growth without such a process. We show that the effect of adding seeds should be particularly different in the two cases. Our light-scattering data on glucagon and Abeta(1-40) confirm this theoretical prediction, demonstrating the central role of fibril-dependent nucleation in amyloid fibril growth.
Project description:Dermatan sulphate, hydroxyproline and collagen fibril diameters were measured in flexor tendons from chick and calf limbs, from early in embryonic development to maturity. The collagen fibril is viewed as a long thin cylinder. A species X present at the periphery of the cylinder, regularly and specifically arrayed along the fibril, should then satisfy the relationship [X]/[collagen]r = k where [X] and [collagen] are tissue concentrations of X and collagen, and r is the fibril radius. Throughout the developmental period studied, dermatan sulphate (i.e.X) in chick, calf and rat tendons fits the relationship, implying that it is specifically, regularly and entirely associated with collagen fibrils, thus confirming and extended previous electron histochemistry [Scott & Orford (1981) Biochem. J. 197, 213-216]. This approach explains the pattern of change of dermatan sulphate content during development of the tendon. The findings imply that the dermatan sulphate proteoglycan-collagen interaction is evolutionarily highly conserved. The relationship [X]/[collagen]r = k is used to show that surface concentrations of covalently bound species, such as extension propeptides, can be easily assessed, given the data base described in paragraph 1 above.
Project description:The quantity and quality of collagen fibrils in the extracellular matrix (ECM) have a pivotal role in dictating biological processes. Several collagen-binding proteins (CBPs) are known to modulate collagen deposition and fibril diameter. However, limited studies exist on alterations in the fibril ultrastructure by CBPs. In this study, we elucidate how the collagen receptor, discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) regulates the collagen content and ultrastructure in the adventitia of DDR1 knock-out (KO) mice. DDR1 KO mice exhibit increased collagen deposition as observed using Masson's trichrome. Collagen ultrastructure was evaluated in situ using transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Although the mean fibril diameter was not significantly different, DDR1 KO mice had a higher percentage of fibrils with larger diameter compared with their wild-type littermates. No significant differences were observed in the length of D-periods. In addition, collagen fibrils from DDR1 KO mice exhibited a small, but statistically significant, increase in the depth of the fibril D-periods. Consistent with these observations, a reduction in the depth of D-periods was observed in collagen fibrils reconstituted with recombinant DDR1-Fc. Our results elucidate how DDR1 modulates collagen fibril ultrastructure in vivo, which may have important consequences in the functional role(s) of the underlying ECM.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease is one of the most devastating neurodegenerative diseases without effective therapies. Immunotherapy is a promising approach, but amyloid antibody structural information is limited. Here we simulate the recognition of monomeric, oligomeric, and fibril amyloid-? (A?) by three homologous antibodies (solanezumab, crenezumab, and their chimera, CreneFab). Solanezumab only binds the monomer, whereas crenezumab and CreneFab can recognize different oligomerization states; however, the structural basis for this observation is not understood. We successfully identified stable complexes of crenezumab with A? pentamer (oligomer model) and 16-mer (fibril model). It is noteworthy that solanezumab targets A? residues 16-26 preferentially in the monomeric state; conversely, crenezumab consistently targets residues 13-16 in different oligomeric states. Unlike the buried monomeric peptide in solanezumab's complementarity-determining region, crenezumab binds the oligomer's lateral and edge residues. Surprisingly, crenezumab's complementarity-determining region loops can effectively bind the A? fibril lateral surface around the same 13-16 region. The constant domain influences antigen recognition through entropy redistribution. Different constant domain residues in solanezumab/crenezumab/chimera influence the binding of A? aggregates. Collectively, we provide molecular insight into the recognition mechanisms facilitating antibody design.
Project description:Aggregation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in brain tissue leads to neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Regardless of the kinetics or detailed mechanisms of Aβ aggregation, aggregation can only occur if Aβ concentrations exceed their local equilibrium solubility values. We propose that excess Aβ peptides can be removed from supersaturated solutions, including solutions in biological fluids, by the addition of hydrogels that are seeded with Aβ fibril fragments. Fibril growth within the hydrogels then sequesters excess peptides until equilibrium concentrations are reached. Experiments with 40- and 42-residue Aβ peptides (Aβ40 and Aβ42) in phosphate buffer at 24°C and in filtered fetal bovine serum at 37°C, using crosslinked polyacrylamide hydrogels, demonstrate the validity of this concept. Aβ sequestration in fibril-seeded hydrogels (or other porous media) may prove to be a useful technique in experiments with animal models of AD and may represent a possible approach to preventing or slowing the progression of AD in humans.
Project description:PAPf39, a 39-residue peptide fragment from human prostatic acidic phosphatase, has been shown to form amyloid fibrils in semen (SEVI), which increase HIV infectivity by up to 5 orders of magnitude. The sequence of the PAPf39 fibrillar core was identified using hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HDX) mass spectrometry and protease protection assays. The central and C-terminal regions are highly protected from HDX and proteolytic cleavage and, thus, are part of the fibrillar core. Conversely, the N-terminal region is unprotected from HDX and proteolytic cleavage, suggesting that it is exposed and not part of the fibrillar core. This finding was tested using two N-terminal truncated variants, PAPf39?1-8 and PAPf39?1-13. Both variants formed amyloid fibrils at neutral pH. However, these variants showed a markedly different pH dependence of fibril formation versus that of PAPf39. PAPf39 fibrils can form at pH 7.7, but not at pH 5.5 or 2.5, while both N-terminally truncated variants can form fibrils at these pH values. Thus, the N-terminal region is not necessary for fibril formation but modulates the pH dependence of PAPf39 fibril formation. PAPf39?1-8 and PAPf39?1-13 are capable of seeding PAPf39 fibril formation at neutral pH, suggesting that these variants are structurally compatible with PAPf39, yet no mixed fibril formation occurs between the truncated variants and PAPf39 at low pH. This suggests that pH affects the PAPf39 monomer conformational ensemble, which is supported by far-UV circular dichroism spectroscopy. A conceptual model describing the pH dependence of PAPf39 aggregation is proposed and provides potential biological implications.
Project description:The propensity of protein molecules to self-assemble into highly ordered, fibrillar aggregates lies at the heart of understanding many disorders ranging from Alzheimer's disease to systemic lysozyme amyloidosis. In this paper we use highly accurate kinetic measurements of amyloid fibril growth in combination with spectroscopic tools to quantify the effect of modifications in solution conditions and in the amino acid sequence of human lysozyme on its propensity to form amyloid fibrils under acidic conditions. We elucidate and quantify the correlation between the rate of amyloid growth and the population of nonnative states, and we show that changes in amyloidogenicity are almost entirely due to alterations in the stability of the native state, while other regions of the global free-energy surface remain largely unmodified. These results provide insight into the complex dynamics of a macromolecule on a multidimensional energy landscape and point the way for a better understanding of amyloid diseases.
Project description:Using replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations and an all-atom implicit solvent model, we probed the energetics of Abeta(10-40) fibril growth. The analysis of the interactions between incoming Abeta peptides and the fibril led us to two conclusions. First, considerable variations in fibril binding propensities are observed along the Abeta sequence. The peptides in the fibril and those binding to its edge interact primarily through their N-termini. Therefore, the mutations affecting the Abeta positions 10-23 are expected to have the largest impact on fibril elongation compared with those occurring in the C-terminus and turn. Second, we performed weak perturbations of the binding free energy landscape by scanning partial deletions of side-chain interactions at various Abeta sequence positions. The results imply that strong side-chain interactions--in particular, hydrophobic contacts--impede fibril growth by favoring disordered docking of incoming peptides. Therefore, fibril elongation may be promoted by moderate reduction of Abeta hydrophobicity. The comparison with available experimental data is presented.
Project description:The difficulty in identifying the toxic agents in all amyloid-related diseases is likely due to the complicated kinetics and thermodynamics of the nucleation process and subsequent fibril formation. The slow progression of these diseases suggests that the formation, incorporation, and/or action of toxic agents are possibly rate limiting. Candidate toxic agents include precursors (some at very low concentrations), also called oligomers and protofibrils, and the fibrils. Here, we investigate the kinetic and thermodynamic behavior of human insulin oligomers (imaged by cryo-EM) under fibril-forming conditions (pH 1.6 and 65 degrees C) by probing the reaction pathway to insulin fibril formation using two different types of experiments-cooling and seeding-and confirm the validity of the nucleation model and its effect on fibril growth. The results from both the cooling and seeding studies confirm the existence of a time-changing oligomer reaction process prior to fibril formation that likely involves a rate-limiting nucleation process followed by structural rearrangements of intermediates (into beta-sheet rich entities) to form oligomers that then form fibrils. The latter structural rearrangement step occurs even in the absence of nuclei (i.e., with added heterologous seeds). Nuclei are formed at the fibrillation conditions (pH 1.6 and 65 degrees C) but are also continuously formed during cooling at pH 1.6 and 25 degrees C. Within the time-scale of the experiments, only after increasing the temperature to 65 degrees C are the trapped insulin nuclei and resultant structures able to induce the structural rearrangement step and overcome the energy barrier to form fibrils. This delay in fibrillation and accumulation of nuclei at low temperature (25 degrees C) result in a decrease in the mean length of the fibers when placed at 65 degrees C. Fits of an empirical model to the data provide quantitative measures of the delay in the lag-time during the nucleation process and subsequent reduction in fibril growth rate resulting from the cooling. Also, the seeding experiments, within the time-scale of the measurements, demonstrate that fibers can initiate fast fibrillation with dissolved insulin (fresh or taken during the lag-period) but not with other fibers. Qualitatively this is explained with a conjectual free-energy space plot.
Project description:Assembly of rigid amyloid fibrils with their characteristic cross-? sheet structure is a molecular signature of numerous neurodegenerative and non-neuropathic disorders. Frequently large populations of small globular amyloid oligomers (gOs) and curvilinear fibrils (CFs) precede the formation of late-stage rigid fibrils (RFs), and have been implicated in amyloid toxicity. Yet our understanding of the origin of these metastable oligomers, their role as on-pathway precursors or off-pathway competitors, and their effects on the self-assembly of amyloid fibrils remains incomplete. Using two unrelated amyloid proteins, amyloid-? and lysozyme, we find that gO/CF formation, analogous to micelle formation by surfactants, is delineated by a "critical oligomer concentration" (COC). Below this COC, fibril assembly replicates the sigmoidal kinetics of nucleated polymerization. Upon crossing the COC, assembly kinetics becomes biphasic with gO/CF formation responsible for the lag-free initial phase, followed by a second upswing dominated by RF nucleation and growth. RF lag periods below the COC, as expected, decrease as a power law in monomer concentration. Surprisingly, the build-up of gO/CFs above the COC causes a progressive increase in RF lag periods. Our results suggest that metastable gO/CFs are off-pathway from RF formation, confined by a condition-dependent COC that is distinct from RF solubility, underlie a transition from sigmoidal to biphasic assembly kinetics and, most importantly, not only compete with RFs for the shared monomeric growth substrate but actively inhibit their nucleation and growth.