Structural studies of heterogeneous amyloid species of lysozymes and de novo protein albebetin and their cytotoxicity
A number of diseases are linked to protein folding problems which lead to the deposition of insoluble protein plaques in the brain or other organs. These diseases include prion diseases such as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and type II (non-insulin dependent) diabetes. The protein plaques are found to consist of amyloid fibrils - cross-beta-sheet polymers with the beta-strands arranged perpendicular to the long axis of the fibre. Studies of ex vivo fibrils and fibrils produced in vitro showed that amyloid structures possess similar tinctorial and morphological properties. These suggest that the ability to form amyloid fibrils is an inherent property of polypeptide chains.The aims of this thesis were to investigate the structural properties of cytotoxic amyloid and examine the involved mechanisms. The model proteins used in the studies were the equine and hen lysozymes and de novo designed protein albebetin.Lysozymes are naturally ubiquitous proteins. Equine lysozyme belongs to an extended family of structurally related lysozymes and ?-lactalbumins and can be considered as an evolutional bridge between them. Hen lysozyme is one of the most characterized protein and its amyloidogenic properties were described earlier. De novo protein albebetin and its constructs are designed to perform the function of grafted polypeptide sequence.Fibrils of equine lysozyme are formed at acidic pH and elevated temperatures where a partially folded molten globule state is populated. We have shown that lysozyme assembles into annular and linear protofilaments in a calcium-dependent manner.We showed that albebetin and its constructs are inherently highly amyloidogenic under physiological conditions. Fibrillation proceeds via multiple pathways and includes a hierarchy of amyloid structures ranging from oligomers to protofilaments and fibrils, among which two distinct types of oligomeric intermediates were characterized. Pivotal oligomers comprise of 10-12 monomers and on-pathway amyloid-prone oligomers constitute of 26-30 molecules. We suggest that transformation of the pivotal oligomers into the amyloid-prone ones is a limiting stage in albebetin fibrillation. Cytotoxic studies of albebetin amyloid species have revealed that initial, pivotal oligomers do not effect on cell viability while amyloid-prone ones induce cell death. We suggest that oligomeric size is important for the stabilizing cross-beta-sheet core which is crucial for cell toxicity.Cytotoxic studies of both oligomers and fibrils of hen lysozyme have revealed that both species induce cell death. The amyloid sample containing cross-?-sheet oligomers induces an apoptosis-like cell death. The oligomers without cross-?-sheet appeared to be non-toxic, indicating that the stabilization of this structural pattern is critical for the induced toxicity. In contrast, the fibrils induce more rapid, necrosis-like death.These studies gained insights into a structure–function relationship of different forms of amyloid and general pathways of cell death. This is an important step in understanding the mechanisms of amyloid-associated degeneration and defining specific therapeutic targets.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Engineering physics; Biophysics; amyloid; cytotoxicity; atomic force microscopy
Date of Publication:01/01/2007