Pore-Forming Proteins Share Structural and Functional Homology with Amyloid Oligomers
ABSTRACT Degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases are believed to be causally related to the accumulation of amyloid oligomers that exhibit a common structure and may be toxic by a common mechanism involving permeabilization of membranes. We discovered that amyloid oligomers and the pore-forming bacterial toxin, alpha-hemolysin (alpha HL), as well as human perforin from cytotoxic T lymphocytes, share a structural and functional homology at the level of their common reactivity with a conformation-dependent antibody that is specific for amyloid oligomers, A11. The alpha HL oligomeric pores and partially folded alpha HL protomer, but not the monomer alpha HL precursor reacts with A11 antibody. A11 antibody inhibits the hemolytic activity of alpha HL, indicating that the structural homology is functionally significant. Perforin oligomers were also recognized by A11. Amyloidogenic properties of alpha HL and perforin were confirmed spectroscopically and morphologically. These results indicate that pore forming proteins (PFP) and amyloid oligomers share structural homology and suggest that PFPs and amyloid oligomers share the same mechanism of membrane permeabilization.
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ABSTRACT: Amyloid-β (Aβ) aggregation is a recognized key process in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Misfolded Aβ peptides self-assemble into higher-order oligomers that compromise membrane integrity, leading to synaptic degeneration and neuronal cell death. The main aim of this study was to explore whether small-molecule compounds and black tea extract can protect phospholipid membranes from disruption by Aβ aggregates. We first established a robust protocol for aggregating Aβ₄₂ peptides into a range of oligomers that efficiently permeabilized small unilamellar liposomes. Next, 15 natural plant polyphenolic compounds, 8 N'-benzylidene-benzohydrazide (NBB) compounds and black tea extract were assessed for their ability to antagonize liposome permeabilization by the Aβ₄₂ oligomers. Our data indicates that black tea extract, the flavones apigenin and baicalein, and the stilbene nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA) are indeed potent inhibitors. Taking into consideration the results of all the small-molecule polyphenols and NBB compounds, it can be proposed that a dihydroxyphenyl ring structure, alone or as part of a flavone scaffold, is particularly effective for protection against membrane damage by the Aβ₄₂ oligomers. Given the critical role of membrane perforation in the neurodegenerative cascade, these conclusions may guide the design and development of novel therapeutic drugs in AD.Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 09/2011; 27(4):767-79. DOI:10.3233/JAD-2011-111061 · 3.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), target specific and functionally connected neuronal networks, raising the possibility that neurodegeneration may spread through abnormal patterns of neural network activity. AD is associated with high levels of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in the brain, synaptic depression, aberrant excitatory neuronal activity, and cognitive decline. However, the relationships among these alterations and their underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In experimental models of AD, high concentrations of pathogenic Aβ assemblies reduce glutamatergic transmission and enhance long-term depression at the synaptic level. At the network level, they cause dysrhythmias, including neuronal synchronization, epileptiform activity, seizures, and postictal suppression. Both synaptic depression and aberrant network synchronization likely interfere with activity-dependent synaptic regulation, which is critical for learning and memory. Abnormal patterns of neuronal activity across functionally connected brain regions may also trigger and perpetuate trans-synaptic mechanisms of neurodegeneration. It remains to be determined if synaptic depression and network dysrhythmias are mechanistically related, which of them is primary or secondary, and whether normalization of one will prevent the other as well as cognitive dysfunction in AD. KeywordsAlzheimer’s disease-Network dysfunction-Amyloid-β-Synaptic depression-Aβ-induced epileptiform activity-Cognitive declineNeuroMolecular Medicine 03/2009; 12(1):48-55. DOI:10.1007/s12017-009-8097-7 · 3.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Amyloid fibres are proteinaceous aggregates associated with several human diseases, including Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Creutzfeldt Jakob's. Disease-associated amyloid formation is the result of proteins that misfold and aggregate into beta sheet-rich fibre polymers. Cellular toxicity is readily associated with amyloidogenesis, although the molecular mechanism of toxicity remains unknown. Recently, a new class of 'functional' amyloid fibres was discovered that demonstrates that amyloids can be utilized as a productive part of cellular biology. These functional amyloids will provide unique insights into how amyloid formation can be controlled and made less cytotoxic. Bacteria produce some of the best-characterized functional amyloids, including a surface amyloid fibre called curli. Assembled by enteric bacteria, curli fibres mediate attachment to surfaces and host tissues. Some bacterial amyloids, like harpins and microcinE492, have exploited amyloid toxicity in a directed and functional manner. Here, we review and discuss the functional amyloids assembled by bacteria. Special emphasis will be paid to the biology of functional amyloid synthesis and the connections between bacterial physiology and pathology.Cellular Microbiology 08/2008; 10(7):1413-20. DOI:10.1111/j.1462-5822.2008.01148.x · 4.82 Impact Factor