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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 5;282(1):555-63. Epub 2006 Nov 8.

Interruption of CryAB-amyloid oligomer formation by HSP22.

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Department of Pharmacology, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan.


An R120G missense mutation in alpha-B-crystallin (CryAB), a small heat-shock protein (HSP), causes a desmin-related cardiomyopathy (DRM) that is characterized by the formation of aggregates containing CryAB and desmin. The mutant CryAB protein leads to the formation of inclusion bodies, which contain amyloid oligomer intermediates (amyloid oligomer) in the cardiomyocytes. To further address the underlying mechanism(s) of amyloid oligomer formation in DRM linked to the CryAB R120G, a recombinant CryAB R120G protein was generated. The purified CryAB R120G protein can form a toxic amyloid oligomer, whereas little immunoreactivity was observed in the wild-type CryAB protein. A native PAGE showed that the oligomerized form was present in the CryAB R120G protein, whereas only a high molecular mass was detected in the wildtype CryAB. The oligomerized CryAB R120G of around 240-480 kDa showed strong positive immunoreactivity against an anti-oligomer antibody. The CryAB R120G amyloid oligomer was unstable and easily lost its conformation by beta-mercaptoethanol and SDS. Recombinant HSP25 or HSP22 proteins can directly interrupt oligomer formation by the CryAB R120G protein, whereas the amyloid oligomer is still present in the mixture of the wild-type CryAB and CryAB R120G proteins. This interruption by HSP25 and HSP22 was confirmed in a cardiomyocyte-based study using an adenoviral transfection system. Blockade of amyloid oligomer formation by HSP25 and HSP22 recovered the ubiquitin proteosomal activity and cellular viability. Blockade of oligomer formation by small HSP may be a new therapeutic strategy for treating DRM as well as other types of amyloid-based degenerative diseases.

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