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Chem Biol Interact. 2010 Sep 6;187(1-3):64-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2010.01.003. Epub 2010 Jan 11.

Alanine-to-threonine substitutions and amyloid diseases: butyrylcholinesterase as a case study.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


Alanine-to-threonine (A to T) substitutions caused by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) occur in diverse proteins, and in certain cases these substitutions induce self-aggregation into amyloid fibrils or aggregation in other amyloidogenic proteins. This is compatible with the inverse preferences of alanine to form helices and of threonine to support beta-sheet structures, which are crucial for amyloid fibrils formation. Our interest in these mutations was initiated by studying the potential effects of the A539T substitution in the butyrylcholinesterase BChE-K variant on amyloid fibrils formation in Alzheimer's disease. Other examples are, Parkinson's disease (PD), where A53T alpha-synuclein occurs in Lewy bodies and familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP), where an A25T substitution appears in transthyretin (TTR). In peripheral organs, an A34T substitution is found in the light chain immunoglobulin genes of patients with systemic amyloidosis and in familial hypercholesterolemia, an A370T substitution occurs in the LDLR regulator of cholesterol homeostasis. That such substitutions appear in proteins with important cellular functions suggests that they confer antagonistic pleiotropy, providing added value at an earlier age but causing damages and inducing amyloid diseases later on. This, in turn, may explain the evolutionary selection and preservation of these substitutions. The structural effect of residue substitutions and in particular A to T substitutions in amyloidogenic diseases thus merits further attention.

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