Instability of the amyloidogenic cystatin C variant of hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis, Icelandic type

L Wei, Y Berman, E M Castaño, M Cadene, R C Beavis, L Devi, E Levy
Journal of Biological Chemistry 1998 May 8, 273 (19): 11806-14
A cystatin C variant with L68Q substitution and a truncation of 10 NH2-terminal residues is the major constituent of the amyloid deposited in the cerebral vasculature of patients with the Icelandic form of hereditary cerebral hemorrhage with amyloidosis (HCHWA-I). Variant and wild type cystatin C production, processing, secretion, and clearance were studied in human cell lines stably overexpressing the cystatin C genes. Immunoblot and mass spectrometry analyses demonstrated monomeric cystatin C in cell homogenates and culture media. While cystatin C formed concentration-dependent dimers, the HCHWA-I variant dimerized at lower concentrations than the wild type protein. Amino-terminal sequence analysis revealed that the variant and normal proteins produced and secreted are the full-length cystatin C. Pulse-chase experiments demonstrated similar levels of normal and variant cystatin C production and secretion. However, the secreted variant cystatin C exhibited an increased susceptibility to a serine protease in conditioned media and in human cerebrospinal fluid, explaining its depletion from the cerebrospinal fluid of HCHWA-I patients. Thus, the amino acid substitution may induce unstable cystatin C with intact inhibitory activity and predisposition to self-aggregation and amyloid fibril formation.

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