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JOURNAL ARTICLE

GM1 cluster mediates formation of toxic Aβ fibrils by providing hydrophobic environments

Saori Fukunaga, Hiroshi Ueno, Takahiro Yamaguchi, Yoshiaki Yano, Masaru Hoshino, Katsumi Matsuzaki
Biochemistry 2012 October 16, 51 (41): 8125-31
23009396
The conversion of soluble, nontoxic amyloid β-proteins (Aβ) to aggregated, toxic forms rich in β-sheets is considered to be a key step in the development of Alzheimer's disease. Accumulating evidence suggests that lipid-protein interactions play a crucial role in the aggregation of amyloidogenic proteins like Aβ. Our group has previously reported that amyloid fibrils of Aβ formed on membranes containing clusters of GM1 ganglioside (M-fibrils) exhibit greater cytotoxicity than fibrils formed in aqueous solution (W-fibrils) [ Okada ( 2008 ) J. Mol. Biol. 382 , 1066 - 1074 ]. W-fibrils are considered to consist of in-register parallel β-sheets. However, the precise molecular structure of M-fibrils and force driving the formation of toxic fibrils remain unclear. In this study, we hypothesized that low-polarity environments provided by GM1 clusters drive the formation of toxic fibrils and compared the structure and cytotoxicity of W-fibrils, M-fibrils, and aggregates formed in a low-polarity solution mimicking membrane environments. First, we determined solvent conditions which mimic the polarity of raftlike membranes using Aβ-(1-40) labeled with the 7-diethylaminocoumarin-3-carbonyl dye. The polarity of a mixture of 80% 1,4-dioxane and 20% water (v/v) was found to be close to that of raftlike membranes. Aβ-(1-40) formed amyloid fibrils within several hours in 80% dioxane (D-fibrils) or in the presence of raftlike membranes, whereas a much longer incubation time was required for fibril formation in a conventional buffer. D-fibrils were morphologically similar to M-fibrils. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy suggested that M-fibrils and D-fibrils contained antiparallel β-sheets. These fibrils had greater surface hydrophobicity and exhibited significant toxicity against human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells, whereas W-fibrils with less surface hydrophobicity were not cytotoxic. We concluded that ganglioside clusters mediate the formation of toxic amyloid fibrils of Aβ with an antiparallel β-sheet structure by providing less polar environments.

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