National Center for
3LOW: Crystal structure of Beta 2 Microglobulin domain-swapped dimer
beta(2)-microglobulin forms three-dimensional domain-swapped amyloid fibrils with disulfide linkages
Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. (2011) 18 p.49-55
beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)m) is the light chain of the type I major histocompatibility complex. It deposits as amyloid fibrils within joints during long-term hemodialysis treatment. Despite the devastating effects of dialysis-related amyloidosis, full understanding of how fibrils form from soluble beta(2)m remains elusive. Here we show that beta(2)m can oligomerize and fibrillize via three-dimensional domain swapping. Isolating a covalently bound, domain-swapped dimer from beta(2)m oligomers on the pathway to fibrils, we were able to determine its crystal structure. The hinge loop that connects the swapped domain to the core domain includes the fibrillizing segment LSFSKD, whose atomic structure we also determined. The LSFSKD structure reveals a class 5 steric zipper, akin to other amyloid spines. The structures of the dimer and the zipper spine fit well into an atomic model for this fibrillar form of beta(2)m, which assembles slowly under physiological conditions.