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Biophys Chem. 2001 Jun 15;91(1):61-9.

Effects of intermediates on aggregation of native bovine serum albumin.

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CNR - Institute for Interdisciplinary Applications of Physics, Via U. La Malfa, 153, I-90146 Palermo, Italy.


Protein aggregation has been recognized to be a pathological indicator for several fatal diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, etc. Aggregation usually involves conformational changes of proteins that have acquired an intermediate beta-structure-rich conformation and can occur even at low protein concentration. Recent work in our laboratory has shown that bovine serum albumin (BSA), even at low-concentration, exhibits self-association properties related to conformational changes, so providing a very convenient model system to study this class of problems. Here we report data (obtained by different experimental techniques) on a mixture of BSA in native and intermediate (beta-structure-rich) form. Results show that the interaction between the two species is responsible for a decrease in the thermodynamic stability of the solution. This occurs without requiring noticeable conformational changes of the native protein. Results presented here can provide new insight on the "protein only" hypothesis proposed for the formation of plaques involved in several neurodegenerative diseases.

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