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J Mol Biol. 2010 Sep 17;402(2):311-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.06.053. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

Structural similarity between the prion domain of HET-s and a homologue can explain amyloid cross-seeding in spite of limited sequence identity.

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Physical Chemistry, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.


We describe a distant homologue of the fungal HET-s prion, which is found in the fungus Fusarium graminearum. The domain FgHET-s(218-289), which corresponds to the prion domain in HET-s from Podospora anserina, forms amyloid fibrils in vitro and is able to efficiently cross-seed HET-s(218-289) prion formation. We structurally characterize FgHET-s(218-289), which displays 38% sequence identity with HET-s(218-289). Solid-state NMR and hydrogen/deuterium exchange detected by NMR show that the fold and a number of structural details are very similar for the prion domains of the two proteins. This structural similarity readily explains why cross-seeding occurs here in spite of the sequence divergence.

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