High hydrophobic amino acid exposure is responsible of the neurotoxic effects induced by E200K or D202N disease-related mutations of the human prion protein.
ABSTRACT Mutations in prion protein are thought to be causative of inherited prion diseases favoring the spontaneous conversion of the normal prion protein into the scrapie-like pathological prion protein. We previously reported that, by controlled thermal denaturation, human prion protein fragment 90-231 acquires neurotoxic properties when transformed in a β-rich conformation, resembling the scrapie-like conformation. In this study we generated prion protein fragment 90-231 bearing mutations identified in familial prion diseases (D202N and E200K), to analyze their role in the induction of a neurotoxic conformation. Prion protein fragment 90-231(wild type) and the D202N mutant were not toxic in native conformation but induced cell death only after thermal denaturation. Conversely, prion protein fragment 90-231(E200K) was highly toxic in its native structure, suggesting that E200K mutation per se favors the acquisition of a peptide neurotoxic conformation. To identify the structural determinants of prion protein fragment 90-231 toxicity, we show that while the wild type peptide is structured in α-helix, hPrP90-231 E200K is spontaneously refolded in a β-structured conformer characterized by increased proteinase K resistance and propensity to generate fibrils. However, the most significant difference induced by E200K mutation in prion protein fragment 90-231 structure in native conformation we observed, was an increase in the exposure of hydrophobic amino-acids on protein surface that was detected in wild type and D202N proteins only after thermal denaturation. In conclusion, we propose that increased hydrophobicity is one of the main determinants of toxicity induced by different mutations in prion protein-derived peptides.
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ABSTRACT: The E200K mutation of the human prion protein (PrP) is known to cause familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In order to elucidate the effects of the mutation on the local structural stability of PrP, we performed ab initio fragment molecular orbital calculations for the wild-type human PrP and the E200K variant modeled under neutral and mild acidic conditions. The calculations revealed that this substitution markedly altered the intramolecular interactions in the PrP, suggesting that the local structural instabilities induced by the E200K mutation might cause initial denaturation of the PrP and its subsequent conversion to a pathogenic form. This work presents a new approach for quantitatively elucidating structural instabilities in proteins that cause misfolding diseases.Prion 01/2010; 4(1):38-44. · 2.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Gerstmann-Sträussler-Scheinker disease (GSS) is a slowly progressive hereditary autosomal dominant disease (OMIM: 137440) and the first human transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) in which a mutation in a gene encoding for prion protein (PrP) was discovered. Its true prevalence is difficult to estimate but figures within the range of 1-10/100,000,000 are quoted. GSS is defined as a neurodegenerative disease "in family with dominantly inherited progressive ataxia and/or dementia): encephalo(myelo)pathy with multi-centric PrP plaques". In this review, we summarise data on all the families with GSS. The hallmark of the GSS neuropathology is the multi-centric plaque but the pattern varies between families. In the second part of this review the experimental data using experimental models of GSS in transgenic mice are summarised as well as structural biology of mutated PrP in GSS.Folia neuropathologica / Association of Polish Neuropathologists and Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences 02/2004; 42 Suppl B:120-40. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The transition of prion protein from a mainly alpha-structured isoform (PrPC) to a beta sheet-containing protein (PrPSc) represents a major pathogenetic mechanism in prion diseases. To study the role of PrP structural conformation in prion-dependent neurodegeneration, we analysed the neurotoxicity of PrP in alpha and beta conformations, using a recombinant protein encompassing amino acids 90-231 of the human PrP (hPrP90-231). Using controlled thermal denaturation (53 degrees C, 1h) we converted hPrP90-231 in a structural isoform displaying PrPSc-related characteristics: high beta sheet content, increased aggregability and a slight increase in the resistance to protease K. In virtue of these structural changes, hPrP90-231 powerfully affected the survival of SH-SY5Y cells, inducing a caspase-3 and p38- dependent apoptosis. Conversely, in the native alpha-helix-rich conformation, hPrP90-231 did not show significant cell toxicity. The relationship between the structural state of hPrP90-231 and its neurotoxicity was demonstrated, inducing the thermal denaturation of the peptide in the presence of Congo red that prevented both the transition of hPrP90-231 into a beta-rich isoform and the acquisition of toxic properties. In conclusion, we report that the toxicity of hPrP90-231 is dependent on its three-dimensional structure, as is supposed to occur for the pathogen PrP during TSE.International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 05/2006; 19(2):339-56. · 2.99 Impact Factor