The effect of disease-associated mutations on the folding pathway of human prion protein.
ABSTRACT Propagation of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies is believed to involve the conversion of cellular prion protein, PrP(C), into a misfolded oligomeric form, PrP(Sc). An important step toward understanding the mechanism of this conversion is to elucidate the folding pathway(s) of the prion protein. We reported recently (Apetri, A. C., and Surewicz, W. K. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 44589-44592) that the folding of wild-type prion protein can best be described by a three-state sequential model involving a partially folded intermediate. Here we have performed kinetic stopped-flow studies for a number of recombinant prion protein variants carrying mutations associated with familial forms of prion disease. Analysis of kinetic data clearly demonstrates the presence of partially structured intermediates on the refolding pathway of each PrP variant studied. In each case, the partially folded state is at least one order of magnitude more populated than the fully unfolded state. The present study also reveals that, for the majority of PrP variants tested, mutations linked to familial prion diseases result in a pronounced increase in the thermodynamic stability, and thus the population, of the folding intermediate. These data strongly suggest that partially structured intermediates of PrP may play a crucial role in prion protein conversion, serving as direct precursors of the pathogenic PrP(Sc) isoform.
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ABSTRACT: The mechanisms underlying the selective targeting of specific brain regions by different neurodegenerative diseases is one of the most intriguing mysteries in medicine. For example, it is known that Alzheimer's disease primarily affects parts of the brain that play a role in memory, whereas Parkinson's disease predominantly affects parts of the brain that are involved in body movement. However, the reasons that other brain regions remain unaffected in these diseases are unknown. A better understanding of the phenomenon of selective vulnerability is required for the development of targeted therapeutic approaches that specifically protect affected neurons, thereby altering the disease course and preventing its progression. Prion diseases are a fascinating group of neurodegenerative diseases because they exhibit a wide phenotypic spectrum caused by different sequence perturbations in a single protein. The possible ways that mutations affecting this protein can cause several distinct neurodegenerative diseases are explored in this Review to highlight the complexity underlying selective vulnerability. The premise of this article is that selective vulnerability is determined by the interaction of specific protein conformers and region-specific microenvironments harboring unique combinations of subcellular components such as metals, chaperones and protein translation machinery. Given the abundance of potential contributory factors in the neurodegenerative process, a better understanding of how these factors interact will provide invaluable insight into disease mechanisms to guide therapeutic discovery.Disease Models and Mechanisms 01/2014; 7(1):21-9. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We elucidated the role of V210I and R208H mutations in the formation of PrPCJD.•We determined by MS the quantitative ratio of mut/wt PrPCJD allotypes.•We showed that mutant PrPCJD allotypes exceeds of 2- or 3-fold the amount of the wt.•Mutant residues may increase the concentration of PrPC and facilitate misfolding.•Mutant PrP likely accelerates the initial stage of PrPCJD formation.Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 10/2014; · 2.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders affecting humans and other mammalian species. The central event in TSE pathogenesis is the conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrP(C), into the aggregate, β -sheet rich, amyloidogenic form, PrP(Sc). Increasing evidence indicates that distinct PrP(Sc) conformers, forming distinct ordered aggregates, can encipher the phenotypic TSE variants related to prion strains. Prion strains are TSE isolates that, after inoculation into syngenic hosts, cause disease with distinct characteristics, such as incubation period, pattern of PrP(Sc) distribution, and regional severity of histopathological changes in the brain. In analogy with other amyloid forming proteins, PrP(Sc) toxicity is thought to derive from the existence of various intermediate structures prior to the amyloid fiber formation and/or their specific interaction with membranes. The latter appears particularly relevant for the pathogenesis of TSEs associated with GPI-anchored PrP(Sc), which involves major cellular membrane distortions in neurons. In this review, we update the current knowledge on the molecular mechanisms underlying three fundamental aspects of the basic biology of prions such as the putative mechanism of prion protein conversion to the pathogenic form PrP(Sc) and its propagation, the molecular basis of prion strains, and the mechanism of induced neurotoxicity by PrP(Sc) aggregates.International Journal of Cell Biology 01/2013; 2013:910314.