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Chem Res Toxicol. 2002 Mar;15(3):408-18.

Redox properties of Met(35) in neurotoxic beta-amyloid peptide. A molecular modeling study.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas, 2095 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas 66047, USA.


The beta-amyloid peptide (betaAP) is the principal component of plaque associated with the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. Part of its neurotoxicity appears to correlate with the ability of the peptide to reduce Cu(II) and form free radicals. Both processes are dependent on the presence and oxidizability of Met(35) in the C-terminus of the peptide but no mechanistic details on the reactions leading to Met oxidation are known. On the basis of previous studies with model peptides, we hypothesize that a one-electron oxidation of Met(35) in betaAP is facilitated through a neighboring group effect. Complexed to Cu(II) and/or in a lipid-mimicking environment, the solution structure of betaAP includes a large alpha-helical part. The solution NMR structure of betaAP1-40 in aqueous SDS micelles reveals an alpha-helix between residues 27 and 36, containing Met(35). In this helical C-terminus of betaAP, the peptide bond C=O group C-terminal of Ile(31) is located very close to the Met(35) sulfur and could stabilize a Met(35) sulfide radical cation through formation of an (S-O) three-electron bond. In the present paper, we have computationally validated this hypothesis using Langevin dynamics methods to determine the collision frequency of the Met(35) thioether sulfur and the oxygen atoms of several peptide bonds in the betaAP sequence. Nanosecond time scale computations were carried out for four distinct betaAP congeners, betaAP26-40, betaAP26-36, betaAP26-40(Ile(31)Pro), betaAP40-26, and their respective Met(35)-sulfur-centered cation radicals. Here, betaAP26-40, betaAP26-40(Ile(31)Pro) and betaAP40-26 are representative fragments of the full length betaAP1-42 or betaAP42-1 sequence, respectively, whereas betaAP26-36 represents a unique betaAP sequence for which biological data are available. Initial structures of betaAP26-40, betaAP26-40(Ile(31)Pro), and betaAP26-36 were selected to be identical to that of the betaAP26-40 or betaAP26-36 sequence in full-length betaAP1-40. As the structures of betaAP40-26 and betaAP42-1 are not known, various initial conformations such as alpha-helix and antiparallel beta-sheet were selected for betaAP40-26. Our computational results show that betaAP26-40, representative for the same sequence in full-length betaAP1-42, has the highest tendency to form (S-O) bonds between Ile(31)C=O and Met(35)S. We conclude that native betaAP1-42 has a higher tendency to support Met(35) oxidation through (S-O) bond formation, consistent with the experimental observation that betaAP1-42 is more neurotoxic compared to the other investigated sequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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