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Residue-specific mobility changes in soluble oligomers of the prion protein define regions involved in aggregation Proteins and proteomics

Glaves, John Paul, Ladner-Keay, Carol L., Bjorndahl, Trent C., Wishart, David S., Sykes, Brian D.
Biochimica et biophysica acta 2018 v.1866 no.9 pp. 982-988
animal models, brain, disease course, neurodegenerative diseases, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, prion diseases, prions, proteinases, toxicity
Prion (PrP) diseases are neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the formation of β-sheet rich, insoluble and protease resistant protein deposits (called PrPSᶜ) that occur throughout the brain. Formation of synthetic or in vitro PrPSᶜ can occur through on-pathway toxic oligomers. Similarly, toxic and infectious oligomers identified in cell and animal models of prion disease indicate that soluble oligomers are likely intermediates in the formation of insoluble PrPSᶜ. Despite the critical role of prion oligomers in disease progression, little is known about their structure. In order, to obtain structural insight into prion oligomers, we generated oligomers by shaking-induced conversion of recombinant, monomeric prion protein PrPᶜ (spanning residues 90–231). We then obtained two-dimensional solution NMR spectra of the PrPᶜ monomer, a 40% converted oligomer, and a 94% converted oligomer. Heteronuclear single-quantum correlation (¹H–¹⁵N) studies revealed that, in comparison to monomeric PrPᶜ, the oligomer has intense amide peak signals in the N-terminal (residues 90–114) and C-terminal regions (residues 226–231). Furthermore, a core region with decreased mobility is revealed from residues ~127 to 225. Within this core oligomer region with decreased mobility, there is a pocket of increased amide peak signal corresponding to the middle of α-helix 2 and the loop between α-helices 2 and 3 in the PrPᶜ monomer structure. Using high-resolution solution-state NMR, this work reveals detailed and divergent residue-specific changes in soluble oligomeric models of PrP.