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Biochemistry. 2003 Jul 29;42(29):8756-61.

Cys10 mixed disulfides make transthyretin more amyloidogenic under mildly acidic conditions.

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Department of Chemistry and Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road BCC265, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Conservative mutation of transthyretin's surface residues can predispose an individual to familial amyloidosis by dramatically changing the energetics of misfolding. Senile systemic amyloidosis (SSA), however, cannot be explained in this fashion because wild-type (WT) transthyretin (TTR) misfolds and misassembles into amyloid. Since various modifications of the SH functionality of Cys10 have been reported in humans, we sought to understand the extent to which these modifications alter the stability and amyloidosis of WT TTR as a possible explanation for SSA. Homotetrameric Cys10 TTR variants, including TTR-Cys, TTR-GSH, TTR-CysGly, and S-sulfonated TTR, were chemically synthesized starting with WT TTR. The TTR-Cys, TTR-GSH, and TTR-CysGly isoforms are more amyloidogenic than WT at the higher end of the acidic pH range (pH 4.4-5.0), and they are similarly destabilized relative to WT TTR toward urea denaturation. They exhibit rates of urea-mediated tetramer dissociation (pH 7) and MeOH-facilitated fibril formation similar to those of WT TTR. Under mildly acidic conditions (pH 4.8), the amyloidogenesis rates of the mixed disulfide TTR variants are much faster than the WT rate. S-Sulfonated TTR is less amyloidogenic and forms fibrils more slowly than WT under acidic conditions, yet it exhibits a stability and rates of tetramer dissociation similar to those of WT TTR when subjected to urea denaturation. Conversion of the Cys10 SH group to a mixed disulfide with the amino acid Cys, the CysGly peptide, or glutathione increases amyloidogenicity and the amyloidogenesis rate above pH 4.6, conditions under which TTR probably forms fibrils in humans. Hence, these modifications may play an important role in human amyloidosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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