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J Biol Chem. 2010 Nov 12;285(46):35590-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.169599. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

N-terminal domain of myelin basic protein inhibits amyloid beta-protein fibril assembly.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery and Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA.


Accumulation of amyloid β-protein (Aβ) into brain parenchymal plaques and the cerebral vasculature is a pathological feature of Alzheimer disease and related disorders. Aβ peptides readily form β-sheet-containing oligomers and fibrils. Previously, we reported a strong interaction between myelin basic protein (MBP) and Aβ peptides that resulted in potent inhibition of fibril assembly (Hoos, M. D., Ahmed, M., Smith, S. O., and Van Nostrand, W. E. (2007) J. Biol. Chem. 282, 9952-9961; Hoos, M. D., Ahmed, M., Smith, S. O., and Van Nostrand, W. E. (2009) Biochemistry 48, 4720-4727). MBP is recognized as a highly post-translationally modified protein. In the present study, we demonstrate that human MBP purified from either brain or a bacterial recombinant expression system comparably bound to Aβ and inhibited Aβ fibril assembly indicating that post-translational modifications are not required for this activity. We also show that purified mouse brain MBP and recombinantly expressed mouse MBP similarly inhibited Aβ fibril formation. Through a combination of biochemical and ultrastructural techniques, we demonstrate that the binding site for Aβ is located in the N-terminal 64 amino acids of MBP and that a stable peptide (MBP1) comprising these residues was sufficient to inhibit Aβ fibrillogenesis. Under conditions comparable with those used for Aβ, the fibrillar assembly of amylin, another amyloidogenic peptide, was not inhibited by MBP1, although MBP1 still bound to it. This observation suggests that the potent inhibitory effect of MBP on fibril formation is not general to amyloidogenic peptides. Finally, MBP1 could prevent the cytotoxic effects of Aβ in primary cortical neurons. Our findings suggest that inhibition of Aβ fibril assembly by MBP, mediated through its N-terminal domain, could play a role in influencing amyloid formation in Alzheimer disease brain and corresponding mouse models.

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