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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 5;279(10):9176-89. Epub 2003 Dec 4.

Properties of some variants of human beta2-microglobulin and amyloidogenesis.

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Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biomediche and Microgravity, Aging, Training, and Immobility, Centre of Excellence, Università di Udine, Piazzale Kolbe 4, 33100 Udine, Italy.


Three variants of human beta(2)-microglobulin (beta(2)-m) were compared with wild-type protein. For two variants, namely the mutant R3Abeta(2)-m and the form devoid of the N-terminal tripeptide (DeltaN3beta(2)-m), a reduced unfolding free energy was measured compared with wild-type beta(2)-m, whereas an increased stability was observed for the mutant H31Ybeta(2)-m. The solution structure could be determined by (1)H NMR spectroscopy and restrained modeling only for R3Abeta(2)-m that showed the same conformation as the parent species, except for deviations at the interstrand loops. Analogous conclusions were reached for H31Ybeta(2)-m and DeltaN3beta(2)-m. Precipitation and unfolding were observed over time periods shorter than 4-6 weeks with all the variants and, sometimes, with wild-type protein. The rate of structured protein loss from solution as a result of precipitation and unfolding always showed pseudo-zeroth order kinetics. This and the failure to observe an unfolded species without precipitation suggest that a nucleated conformational conversion scheme should apply for beta(2)-m fibrillogenesis. The mechanism is consistent with the previous and present results on beta(2)-m amyloid transition, provided a nucleated oligomeric species be considered the stable intermediate of fibrillogenesis, the monomeric intermediate being the necessary transition step along the pathway from the native protein to the nucleated oligomer.

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