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J Neurochem. 1999 Oct;73(4):1584-9.

Toxicity of pyroglutaminated amyloid beta-peptides 3(pE)-40 and -42 is similar to that of A beta1-40 and -42.

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Sanders-Brown Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0230, USA.


An N-terminal truncated isoform of the amyloid beta-peptide (A beta) that begins with a pyroglutamate (pE) residue at position 3 [A beta3(pE)-42] is the predominant isoform found in senile plaques. Based upon previous in vitro studies regarding A beta N-terminal truncated isoforms, it has been hypothesized that A beta3(pE)-x isoforms may aggregate more rapidly and become more toxic than corresponding Abeta1-x peptides. However, the toxicity and aggregation properties of A beta3(pE)-42 and A beta3(pE)-40 have not previously been examined. After initial solubilization and 1-week preaggregation of each peptide at 37 degrees C and pH 7.4, the toxicity of 5-50 microM A beta3(pE)-42 was similar to that of A beta1-42. Moreover, the toxicity of A beta3(pE)-40 paralleled that induced by A beta1-40 in both 1 day in vitro (DIV) cortical and 7 DIV hippocampal cells. Circular dichroism spectra did not reveal major differences in secondary structure between aged A beta1-42, A beta3(pE)-42, A beta3(pE)-40, and A beta1-40 or freshly solubilized forms of these peptides. Overall, the data indicate that the loss of the two N-terminal amino acids and the cyclization of glutamate at position 3 do not alter the extracellular toxicity of A beta.

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