Clorinda Malmo

Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Latium, Italy

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Publications (8)26.19 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In protein deposition disorders, a normally soluble protein is deposited as insoluble aggregates, referred to as amyloid. The intrinsic effects of specific mutations on the rates of protein aggregation and amyloid formation of unfolded polypeptide chains can be correlated with changes in hydrophobicity, propensity to convert alpha-helical to beta sheet conformation and charge. In this paper, we report the aggregation rates of buffalo, horse and bovine apomyoglobins. The experimental values were compared with the theoretical ones evaluated considering the amino acid differences among the sequences. Our results show that the mutations which play critical roles in the rate-determining step of apomyoglobin aggregation are those located within the N-terminal region of the molecule.
    FEBS Letters 04/2006; 580(6):1681-4. DOI:10.1016/j.febslet.2006.02.018 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A significant number of fatal diseases are classified as protein deposition disorders, in which a normally soluble protein is deposited in an insoluble amyloid form. It has been reported that tetracycline exhibits anti-amyloidogenic activity by inhibiting aggregate formation and disaggregating preformed fibrils. In this work, we examined the effect induced by the presence of tetracycline on the fibrillogenesis and cytotoxicity of the amyloid-forming apomyoglobin mutant W7FW14F. Like other amyloid-forming proteins, early prefibrillar aggregates formed by this protein are highly cytotoxic, whereas insoluble mature fibrils are not. The effect induced by tetracycline on the fibrillation process has been examined by atomic force microscopy, light scattering, DPH staining, and thioflavin T fluorescence. The cytotoxicity of the amyloid aggregates was estimated by measuring cell viability using MTT assay. The results show that tetracycline acts as anti-aggregating agent, which inhibits the fibril elongation process but not the early aggregation steps leading to the formation of soluble oligomeric aggregates. Thus, this inhibition keeps the W7FW14F mutant in a prefibrillar, highly cytotoxic state. In this respect, a careful usage of tetracycline as fibril inhibitor is indicated.
    The FASEB Journal 03/2006; 20(2):346-7. DOI:10.1096/fj.05-4652fje · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The apomyoglobin mutant W7FW14F forms amyloid-like fibrils at physiological pH. We examined the kinetics of fibrillogenesis using three techniques: the time dependence of the fluorescence emission of thioflavin T and 1-anilino-8-naphthalenesulfonate, circular dichroism measurements, and electron microscopy. We found that in the early stage of fibril formation, non-native apomyoglobin molecules containing beta-structure elements aggregate to form a nucleus. Subsequently, more molecules aggregate around the nucleus, thereby resulting in fibril elongation. We evaluated by MTT assay (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) the cytotoxicity of these aggregates at the early stage of fibril elongation versus mature fibrils and the wild-type protein. Similar to other amyloid-forming proteins, cell toxicity was not due to insoluble mature fibrils but rather to early pre-fibrillar aggregates. Propidium iodide uptake showed that cell toxicity is the result of altered membrane permeability. Phalloidin staining showed that membrane damage is not associated to an altered cell shape caused by changes in the cytoskeleton.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2004; 279(13):13183-9. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M308207200 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The solvent accessibilities to the tryptophanyl microenvironments of wild type sperm whale apomyoglobin (apoMb) and two mutants (W7F and W14F) containing a single tryptophan are measured by fluorescence quenching studies. The results are compared to those relative to horse apoMb. In the wild type sperm whale protein, no difference is noticed in the solvent accessibility of the two indole residues, as documented by the values of the Stern-Volmer constants. By contrast, the two tryptophan residues of horse apoMb are exposed to the solvent in a different way, thus indicating that some local conformational differences exist between the two homologous proteins in solution. The single W --> F substitution at either position 7 or 14 determines local conformational changes that increase the accessibility of the remaining indole residue but do not affect the overall architecture of the protein molecule.
    Biopolymers 12/2003; 70(4):649-54. DOI:10.1002/bip.10503 · 2.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The conformational properties of partially folded states of apomyoglobin have been investigated using an integrated approach based on fluorescence spectroscopy and hydrogen/deuterium exchange followed by mass spectrometry. The examined states were those obtained: (i) by adding 4% v/v hexafluoroisopropanol to native myoglobin, HFIP-MG(N); (ii) by adding 4% v/v hexafluoroisopropanol to acid unfolded myoglobin, HFIP-MG(U); (iii) at pH 3.8, I-1 state; and (iv) at pH 2.0-0.2 M NaCl, A state. Proteolytic digestion of the hydrogen/deuterium exchanged proteins showed that, in I-1 state, the helices C, D, E, and F incorporate more deuterium, whereas in HFIP-MG(N) the exchange rate is similar for all protein regions. These results suggest that I-1 contains the ABGH domain in a native-like organization, whereas HFIP-MG(N) loses a large number of tertiary interactions, thus acquiring a more flexible structure. The fluorescence data are consistent with the above picture. In fact, the tryptophan/ANS energy transfer is much less efficient for the ANS-HFIP-MG(N) complex than for the other complexes, thus suggesting that the distances between the fluorophores might be increased. Moreover, fluorescence polarization measurements indicated that the rotational motion of HFIP-MG(N) occurs on a longer time scale than the other partially folded states, thus suggesting that the volume of this state could be larger. The overall results indicate that addition of hexafluoroisopropanol to native myoglobin results in the formation of a true molten globule where tertiary interactions are reduced, while the secondary structure and the globular compactness are conserved.
    Biochemistry 02/2003; 42(2):312-9. DOI:10.1021/bi020447f · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myoglobin is an alpha-helical globular protein that contains two highly conserved tryptophan residues located at positions 7 and 14 in the N-terminal region of the protein. Replacement of both indole residues with phenylalanine residues, i.e. W7F/W14F, results in the expression of an unstable, not correctly folded protein that does not bind the prosthetic group. Here we report data (Congo red and thioflavine T binding assay, birefringence, and electron microscopy) showing that the double Trp/Phe replacements render apomyoglobin molecules highly susceptible to aggregation and amyloid-like fibril formation under physiological conditions in which most of the wild-type protein is in the native state. In refolding experiments, like the wild-type protein, the W7F/W14F apomyoglobin mutant formed a soluble, partially folded helical state between pH 2.0 and pH 4.0. A pH increase from 4.0 to 7.0 restored the native structure only in the case of the wild-type protein and determined aggregation of W7F/W14F. The circular dichroism spectrum recorded immediately after neutralization showed that the polypeptide consists mainly of beta-structures. In conclusion, under physiological pH conditions, some mutations that affect folding may cause protein aggregation and the formation of amyloid-like fibrils.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2002; 277(48):45887-91. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M207659200 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resonance energy transfer between tryptophanyl residues and the apolar fluorescent dye 1-anilino-8-naphthalene sulfonate (ANS) occurs when the fluorophore is bound to native folded sperm whale apomyoglobin. The individual transfer contribution of the two tryptophanyl residues (W7 and W14, both located on the A-helix of the protein) was resolved by measuring the tryptophan-ANS transfer efficiency for the ANS-apomyoglobin complexes formed by wild-type protein and protein mutants containing one or no tryptophanyl residues, i.e. W7F, W14F and W7YW14F. The transfer efficiency of W14 residue was found to be higher than that of W7, thus indicating that W14 acts as the main energy donor in the ANS-apomyoglobin complex. This suggests that the plane containing the anilinonaphthalene ring of the extrinsic fluorophore has a spatial orientation similar to that of W14 and, hence, to the heme group in the holoprotein.
    Photochemistry and Photobiology 11/2002; 76(4):381-4. DOI:10.1562/0031-8655(2002)0760381ROTAFE2.0.CO2 · 2.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian myoglobins contain two tryptophanyl residues at the invariant positions 7 (A-5) and 14 (A-12) in the N-terminal region (A helix) of the protein molecule. The simultaneous substitution of both tryptophanyl residues causes an incorrect folding with subsequent loss of heme binding. The introduction of a indolic residue in different molecular regions, i.e. G, E, and C helix resulted in a not correctly folded protein, suggesting that the tryptophanyl residues are strong structural determinants.
    Bollettino della Società italiana di biologia sperimentale 01/2001; 77(1-3):1-6.

Publication Stats

169 Citations
26.19 Total Impact Points


  • 2006
    • Sapienza University of Rome
      • Department of Physics
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2002–2006
    • Second University of Naples
      • Dipartimento di Biochimica, Biofisica e Patologia Generale
      Caserta, Campania, Italy
  • 2003
    • University of Naples Federico II
      Napoli, Campania, Italy