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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 31;276(35):32657-62. Epub 2001 Jun 20.

Conformational intermediate of the amyloidogenic protein beta 2-microglobulin at neutral pH.

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  • 1Department of Autoimmunology, Statens Serum Institut, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.


Aggregation and fibrillation of beta(2)-microglobulin are hallmarks of dialysis-related amyloidosis. We characterize perturbations of the native conformation of beta(2)-microglobulin that may precede fibril formation. For a beta(2)-microglobulin variant cleaved at lysine 58, we show using capillary electrophoresis that two conformers spontaneously exist in aqueous buffers at neutral pH. Upon treatment of wild-type beta(2)-microglobulin with acetonitrile or trifluoroethanol, two conformations were also observed. These conformations were in equilibrium dependent on the sample temperature and the percentage of organic solvent present. Circular dichroism showed a loss of beta-structures and gain of alpha-helices. Reversal to the native conformation occurred when removing the organics. Affinity capillary electrophoresis experiments showed increased specific interactions of the nonnative beta(2)-microglobulin conformation with the dyes 8-anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonic acid and Congo red. The observations may relate to early folding events prior to amyloid fibrillation and facilitate the development of methods to detect and inhibit pro-amyloid protein and peptide conformations.

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