Fluorescence detection of a lipid-induced tetrameric intermediate in amyloid fibril formation by apolipoprotein C-II

Timothy M Ryan, Geoffrey J Howlett, Michael F Bailey
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2008 December 12, 283 (50): 35118-28
The misfolding and self-assembly of proteins into amyloid fibrils that occurs in several debilitating and age-related diseases is affected by common components of amyloid deposits, notably lipids and lipid complexes. We have examined the effect of the short-chain phospholipids, dihexanoylphosphatidylcholine (DHPC) and dihexanoylphosphatidylserine (DHPS), on amyloid fibril formation by human apolipoprotein C-II (apoC-II). Micellar DHPC and DHPS strongly inhibited apoC-II fibril formation, whereas submicellar levels of these lipids accelerated apoC-II fibril formation to a similar degree. These results indicate that the net negative charge on DHPS, compared with the neutrally charged DHPC, is not critical for either the inhibition or activation process. We also investigated the mechanism for the submicellar, lipid-induced activation of fibril formation. Emission data for fluorescently labeled apoC-II indicated that DHPC and DHPS stimulate the early formation and accumulation of oligomeric species. Sedimentation velocity and equilibrium experiments using a new fluorescence detection system identified a discrete lipid-induced tetramer formed at low apoC-II concentrations in the absence of significant fibril formation. Seeding experiments showed that this tetramer was on the fibril-forming pathway. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer experiments established that this tetramer forms rapidly and is stabilized by submicellar, but not micellar, concentrations of DHPC and DHPS. Several recent studies show that oligomeric intermediates in amyloid fibril formation are toxic. Our results indicate that lipids promote on-pathway intermediates of apoC-II fibril assembly and that the accumulation of a discrete tetrameric intermediate depends on the molecular state of the lipid.

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