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Biochemistry. 2020 Jan 10. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00892. [Epub ahead of print]

Side Chain Hydrogen-Bonding Interactions within Amyloid-like Fibrils Formed by the Low-Complexity Domain of FUS: Evidence from Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

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Department of Chemistry , University of California , Davis , California 95616-5271 , United States.
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , National Institutes of Health , Bethesda , Maryland 20892-0520 , United States.


In aqueous solutions, the 214-residue low-complexity domain of the FUS protein (FUS-LC) is known to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation and also to self-assemble into amyloid-like fibrils. In previous work based on solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) methods, a structural model for the FUS-LC fibril core was developed, showing that residues 39-95 form the fibril core. Unlike fibrils formed by amyloid-β peptides, α-synuclein, and other amyloid-forming proteins, the FUS-LC core is largely devoid of purely hydrophobic amino acid side chains. Instead, the core-forming segment contains numerous hydroxyl-bearing residues, including 18 serines, six threonines, and eight tyrosines, suggesting that the FUS-LC fibril structure may be stabilized in part by inter-residue hydrogen bonds among side chain hydroxyl groups. Here we describe ssNMR measurements, performed on 2H,15N,13C-labeled FUS-LC fibrils, that provide new information about the interactions of hydroxyl-bearing residues with one another and with water. The ssNMR data support the involvement of specific serine, threonine, and tyrosine residues in hydrogen-bonding interactions. The data also reveal differences in hydrogen exchange rates with water for different side chain hydroxyl groups, providing information about solvent exposure and penetration of water into the FUS-LC fibril core.

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