Τρίτη, 9 Μαΐου 2017

Insights into the mechanism of cystatin C oligomer and amyloid formation and its interaction with beta-amyloid [Protein Structure and Folding]

Cystatin C (CysC) is a versatile and ubiquitously-expressed member of the cysteine protease inhibitor family that is present at notably high concentration in cerebrospinal fluid. Under mildly denaturing conditions, CysC forms inactive domain-swapped dimers. A destabilizing mutation, L68Q, increases the rate of domain-swapping and causes a fatal amyloid disease, Hereditary Cystatin C Amyloid Angiopathy. Wild-type (wt) CysC will also aggregate into amyloid fibrils under some conditions. Propagated domain swapping has been proposed as the mechanism by which CysC fibrils grow. We present evidence that a CysC mutant, V57N, stabilized against domain-swapping, readily forms fibrils, contradicting the propagated domain-swapping hypothesis. Furthermore, in physiological buffer, wt CysC can form oligomers without undergoing domain-swapping. These non-swapped oligomers are identical in secondary structure to CysC monomers, and completely retain protease inhibitory activity. However, unlike monomers or dimers, the oligomers bind fluorescent dyes that indicate they have characteristics of pre-amyloid aggregates. Though these oligomers appear to be a pre-amyloid assembly, they are slower than CysC monomers to form fibrils. Fibrillation of CysC therefore likely initiates from the monomer and does not require domain-swapping. The non-swapped oligomers likely represent a dead-end offshoot of the amyloid pathway, and must dissociate to monomers prior to re-arranging to amyloid fibrils. These prefibrillar CysC oligomers were potent inhibitors of aggregation of the Alzheimer's-related peptide, beta-amyloid. This result may illustrate an example where heterotypic interactions between pre-amyloid oligomers prevent the homotypic interactions which would lead to mature amyloid fibrils.

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