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Protein Sci. 2010 Feb;19(2):220-8. doi: 10.1002/pro.299.

pH-dependent stability of neuroserpin is mediated by histidines 119 and 138; implications for the control of beta-sheet A and polymerization.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Cambridge CB2 0XY, United Kingdom. db301@cam.ac.uk

Abstract

Neuroserpin is a member of the serpin superfamily. Point mutations in the neuroserpin gene underlie the autosomal dominant dementia, familial encephalopathy with neuroserpin inclusion bodies. This is characterized by the retention of ordered polymers of neuroserpin within the endoplasmic reticulum of neurons. pH has been shown to affect the propensity of several serpins to form polymers. In particular, low pH favors the formation of polymers of both alpha(1)-antitrypsin and antithrombin. We report here opposite effects in neuroserpin, with a striking resistance to polymer formation at acidic pH. Mutation of specific histidine residues showed that this effect is not attributable to the shutter domain histidine as would be predicted by analogy with other serpins. Indeed, mutation of the shutter domain His338 decreased neuroserpin stability but had no effect on the pH dependence of polymerization when compared with the wild-type protein. In contrast, mutation of His119 or His138 reduced the polymerization of neuroserpin at both acidic and neutral pH. These residues are at the lower pole of neuroserpin and provide a novel mechanism to control the opening of beta-sheet A and hence polymerization. This mechanism is likely to have evolved to protect neuroserpin from the acidic environment of the secretory granules.

PMID:
19953505
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2865726
Free PMC Article
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