Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Effects of mutation on the amyloidogenic propensity of apolipoprotein C-II60-70 peptide
    Todorova, N ; Hung, A ; Maaser, SM ; Griffin, MDW ; Karas, J ; Howlett, GJ ; Yarovsky, I (ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY, 2010-01-01)
    Using experimental and computational methods we identified the effects of mutation on the structure and dynamics of the amyloidogenic peptide apoC-II(60-70), in monomeric and oligomeric states. Methionine (Met60) substitutions to hydrophilic Gln, hydrophobic Val, and methionine sulfoxide residues were investigated and the results compared with observations of fibril formation by the wild-type, Met60Gln, Met60Val, and oxidised Met60 (oxi-Met) apoC-II(60-70) peptides. ThT fluorescence measurements showed fibril formation by all peptides, however with different kinetics. The wild-type and Met60Val peptides formed fibrils fastest, while oxi-Met and Met60Gln peptides exhibited significantly longer lag phases. Molecular dynamics simulations showed that the mutated monomers exhibited structural features consistent with fibril-forming propensity, such as β-hairpin conformation and a hydrophobic core. However, important differences to the wild-type were also noted, such as increased structural flexibility (oxi-Met and Met60Gln systems) and a broader distribution of the aromatic angle orientation, which could contribute to the different fibrillation kinetics observed in these peptides. Our results also showed that the critical nucleus size for fibril formation by apoC-II(60-70) may not be very large, since tetrameric oligomers in anti-parallel configuration were very stable within the 100 ns of simulations. The single-point mutations Met60Val and Met60Gln had no significant effect on the structural stability of the tetramer. The rate of fibril formation by apoC-II(60-70) peptides was generally much faster compared to longer apoC-II(56-76) peptides. Also, the effects of amino acid modifications on the kinetics of peptide fibril formation differ from the effects observed for apoC-II(56-76) and full-length apoC-II, suggesting that additional mechanisms are involved in fibril formation by mature apoC-II.
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    Diagnostics for Amyloid Fibril Formation: Where to Begin?
    Hatters, DM ; Griffin, MDW ; Hill, AF ; Barnham, KJ ; Bottomley, SP ; Cappai, R (HUMANA PRESS INC, 2011-01-01)
    Twenty-five proteins are known to form amyloid fibrils in vivo in association with disease (Westermark et al., Amyloid 12:1-4, 2005). However, the fundamental ability of a protein to form amyloid-like fibrils is far more widespread than in just the proteins associated with disease, and indeed this property can provide insight into the basic thermodynamics of folding and misfolding pathways. But how does one determine whether a protein has formed amyloid-like fibrils? In this chapter, we cover the basic steps toward defining the amyloid-like properties of a protein and how to measure the kinetics of fibrillization. We describe several basic tests for aggregation and the binding to two classic amyloid-reactive dyes, Congo Red, and thioflavin T, which are key indicators to the presence of fibrils.
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    Sedimentation velocity analysis of amyloid oligomers and fibrils using fluorescence detection
    Mok, Y-F ; Ryan, TM ; Yang, S ; Hatters, DM ; Howlett, GJ ; Griffin, MDW (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2011-05-01)
    The assembly of proteins into large fibrillar aggregates, known as amyloid fibrils, is associated with a number of common and debilitating diseases. In some cases, proteins deposit extracellularly, while in others the aggregation is intracellular. A common feature of these diseases is the presence of aggregates of different sizes, including mature fibrils, small oligomeric precursors, and other less well understood structural forms such as amorphous aggregates. These various species possess distinct biochemical, biophysical, and pathological properties. Here, we detail a number of techniques that can be employed to examine amyloid fibrils and oligomers using a fluorescence-detection system (FDS) coupled with the analytical ultracentrifuge. Sedimentation velocity analysis using fluorescence detection is a particularly useful method for resolving the complex heterogeneity present in amyloid systems and can be used to characterize aggregation in exceptional detail. Furthermore, the fluorescence detection module provides a number of particularly attractive features for the analysis of aggregating proteins. It expands the practical range of concentrations of aggregating proteins under study, which is useful for greater insight into the aggregation process. It also enables the assessment of aggregation behavior in complex biological solutions, such as cell lysates, and the assessment of processes that regulate in-cell or extracellular aggregation kinetics. Four methods of fluorescent detection that are compatible with the current generation of FDS instrumentation are described: (1) Detection of soluble amyloid fibrils using a covalently bound fluorophore. (2) Detection of amyloid fibrils using an extrinsic dye that emits fluorescence when bound to fibrils. (3) Detection of fluorescently-labeled lipids and their interaction with oligomeric amyloid intermediates. (4) Detection of green fluorescence protein (GFP) constructs and their interactions within mammalian cell lysates.
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    Ar-DHDPS2
    DOBSON, RENWICK ; GRIFFIN, MICHAEL ( 2011)
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    The crystal structures of native and (S)-lysine-bound dihydrodipicolinate synthase from Escherichia coli with improved resolution show new features of biological significance
    Dobson, Renwick C. J. ; Griffin, Michael D. W. ; Jameson, Geoffrey B. ; Gerrard, Juliet A. ( 2008)
    Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) mediates the key first reaction common to the biosynthesis of (S)-lysine and mesodiaminopimelate. The activity of DHDPS is allosterically regulated by the feedback inhibitor (S)-lysine. The crystal structure of DHDPS from Escherichia coli has previously been published, but to only a resolution of 2.5 A, and the structure of the lysine-bound adduct was known to only 2.94 A resolution. Here, the crystal structures of native and (S)- lysine-bound dihydrodipicolinate synthase from E. coli are presented to 1.9 and 2.0 A, respectively, resolutions that allow, in particular, more accurate definition of the protein structure. The general architecture of the active site is found to be consistent with previously determined structures, but with some important differences. Arg138, which is situated at the entrance of the active site and is thought to be involved in substrate binding, has an altered conformation and is connected via a water molecule to Tyr133 of the active-site catalytic triad. This suggests a hitherto unknown function for Arg138 in the DHDPS mechanism. Additionally, a reevaluation of the dimer-dimer interface reveals a more extensive network of interactions than first thought. Of particular interest is the higher resolution structure of DHDPS with (S)-lysine bound at the allosteric site, which is remote to the active site, although connected to it by a chain of conserved water molecules. (S)-Lysine has a slightly altered conformation from that originally determined and does not appear to alter the DHDPS structure as others have reported.