Functional amyloids as natural storage of peptide hormones in pituitary secretory granules.
ABSTRACT Amyloids are highly organized cross-beta-sheet-rich protein or peptide aggregates that are associated with pathological conditions including Alzheimer's disease and type II diabetes. However, amyloids may also have a normal biological function, as demonstrated by fungal prions, which are involved in prion replication, and the amyloid protein Pmel17, which is involved in mammalian skin pigmentation. We found that peptide and protein hormones in secretory granules of the endocrine system are stored in an amyloid-like cross-beta-sheet-rich conformation. Thus, functional amyloids in the pituitary and other organs can contribute to normal cell and tissue physiology.
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ABSTRACT: The cellular prion protein (PrP(C)) is an ubiquitously expressed glycoprotein that is most abundant in the central nervous system. It is thought to play a role in many cellular processes, including neuroprotection, but may also contribute to Alzheimer's disease and some cancers. However, it is best known for its central role in the prion diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and scrapie. These protein misfolding diseases can be sporadic, acquired, or genetic and are caused by refolding of endogenous PrP(C) into a beta sheet-rich, pathogenic form, PrP(Sc). Once prions are present in the central nervous system, they increase and spread during a long incubation period that is followed by a relatively short clinical disease phase, ending in death. PrP molecules can be broadly categorized as either 'good' (cellular) PrP(C) or 'bad' (scrapie prion-type) PrP(Sc), but both populations are heterogeneous and different forms of PrP(C) may influence various cellular activities. Both PrP(C) and PrP(Sc) are localized predominantly at the cell surface, with the C-terminus attached to the plasma membrane via a glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor and both can exist in cleaved forms. PrP(C) also has cytosolic and transmembrane forms, and PrP(Sc) is known to exist in a variety of conformations and aggregation states. Here, we discuss the roles of different PrP isoforms in sickness and in health, and show the subcellular distributions of several forms of PrP that are particularly relevant for PrP(C) to PrP(Sc) conversion and prion-induced pathology in the hippocampus. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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ABSTRACT: Many neurodegenerative disorders are linked to irreversible protein aggregation, a process that usually comes along with toxicity and serious cellular damage. However, it is emerging that protein aggregation can also serve for physiological purposes, as impressively shown for prions. While the aggregation of this protein family was initially considered exclusively toxic in mammalians organisms, it is now almost clear that many other proteins adopt prion-like attributes to rationally polymerize into higher order complexes with organized physiologic roles. This implies that cells can tolerate at least in some measure the accumulation of inherently dangerous protein aggregates for functional profit. This review summarizes currently known strategies that living organisms adopt to preserve beneficial aggregation, and to prevent the catastrophic accumulation of toxic aggregates that frequently accompany neurodegeneration.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 02/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00045 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Eosinophils are white blood cells that function in innate immunity and participate in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory and neoplastic disorders. Their secretory granules contain four cytotoxic proteins, including the eosinophil major basic protein (MBP-1). How MBP-1 toxicity is controlled within the eosinophil itself and activated upon extracellular release is unknown. Here we show how intragranular MBP-1 nanocrystals restrain toxicity, enabling its safe storage, and characterize them with an X-ray-free electron laser. Following eosinophil activation, MBP-1 toxicity is triggered by granule acidification, followed by extracellular aggregation, which mediates the damage to pathogens and host cells. Larger non-toxic amyloid plaques are also present in tissues of eosinophilic patients in a feedback mechanism that likely limits tissue damage under pathological conditions of MBP-1 oversecretion. Our results suggest that MBP-1 aggregation is important for innate immunity and immunopathology mediated by eosinophils and clarify how its polymorphic self-association pathways regulate toxicity intra- and extracellularly. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Molecular Cell 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2015.01.026 · 14.46 Impact Factor