Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2002 Dec 6;324(4):859-70.

Acid Denaturation of alpha1-antitrypsin: characterization of a novel mechanism of serpin polymerization.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, P.O. Box 13D, Monash University, 3800 Australia.


The native serpin architecture is extremely sensitive to mutation and environmental factors. These factors induce the formation of a partially folded species that results in the production of inactive loop-sheet polymers. The deposition of these aggregates in tissue, results in diseases such as liver cirrhosis, thrombosis, angioedema and dementia. In this study, we characterize the kinetics and conformational changes of alpha(1)-antitrypsin polymerization at pH 4 using tryptophan fluorescence, circular dichroism, turbidity changes and thioflavin T binding. These biophysical techniques have demonstrated that polymerization begins with a reversible conformational change that results in partial loss of secondary structure and distortion at the top of beta-sheet A. This is followed by two bimolecular processes. First, protodimers are formed, which can be dissociated by changing the pH back to 8. Then, an irreversible conformational change occurs, resulting in the stabilization of the dimers with a concomitant increase in beta-sheet structure, allowing for subsequent polymer extension. Electron microscopy analysis of the polymers, coupled with the far-UV CD and thioflavin T properties of the pH 4 polymers suggest they do not form via the classical loop-beta-sheet A linkage. However, they more closely resemble those formed by the pathological variant M(malton). Taken together, these data describe a novel kinetic mechanism of serine proteinase inhibitor polymerization.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk