A structural core within apolipoprotein C-II amyloid fibrils identified using hydrogen exchange and proteolysis

Leanne M Wilson, Yee-Foong Mok, Katrina J Binger, Michael D W Griffin, Haydyn D T Mertens, Feng Lin, John D Wade, Paul R Gooley, Geoffrey J Howlett
Journal of Molecular Biology 2007 March 9, 366 (5): 1639-51
Plasma apolipoproteins show alpha-helical structure in the lipid-bound state and limited conformational stability in the absence of lipid. This structural instability of lipid-free apolipoproteins may account for the high propensity of apolipoproteins to aggregate and accumulate in disease-related amyloid deposits. Here, we explore the properties of amyloid fibrils formed by apolipoproteins using human apolipoprotein (apo) C-II as a model system. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange and NMR spectroscopy of apoC-II fibrils revealed core regions between residues 19-37 and 57-74 with reduced amide proton exchange rates compared to monomeric apoC-II. The C-terminal core region was also identified by partial proteolysis of apoC-II amyloid fibrils using endoproteinase GluC and proteinase K. Complete tryptic hydrolysis of apoC-II fibrils followed by centrifugation yielded a single peptide in the pellet fraction identified using mass spectrometry as apoC-II(56-76). Synthetic apoC-II(56-76) readily formed fibrils, albeit with a different morphology and thioflavinT fluorescence yield compared to full-length apoC-II. Studies with smaller peptides narrowed this fibril-forming core to a region within residues 60-70. We postulate that the ability of apoC-II(60-70) to independently form amyloid fibrils drives fibril formation by apoC-II. These specific amyloid-forming regions within apolipoproteins may underlie the propensity of apolipoproteins and their peptide derivatives to accumulate in amyloid deposits in vivo.

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