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Biochemistry. 1996 Nov 5;35(44):13914-21.

Point substitution in the central hydrophobic cluster of a human beta-amyloid congener disrupts peptide folding and abolishes plaque competence.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is pathologically characterized by the presence of numerous insoluble amyloid plaques in the brain composed primarily of a 40-43 amino acid peptide, the human beta-amyloid peptide (A beta). The process of A beta deposition can be modeled in vitro by deposition of physiological concentrations of radiolabeled A beta onto preexisting amyloid in preparations of unfixed AD cerebral cortex. Using this model system, it has been shown that A beta deposition is biochemically distinct from A beta aggregation and occurs readily at physiological A beta concentrations, but which regions and conformations of A beta are essential to A beta deposition is poorly understood. We report here that an active congener, A beta (10-35)-NH2, displays time dependence, pH-activity profile, and kinetic order of deposition similar to A beta (1-40), and is sufficiently soluble for NMR spectroscopy in water under conditions where it actively deposits. To examine the importance of the central hydrophobic cluster of A beta (LVFFA, residues 17-21) for in vitro A beta deposition, an A beta (10-35)-NH2 analog with a single point substitution (F19T) in this region was synthesized and examined. Unlike A beta (10-35)-NH2, the F19T analog was plaque growth incompetent, and NMR analysis indicated that the mutant peptide was significantly less folded than wild-type A beta. These results support previous studies suggesting that the plaque competence of A beta correlates with peptide folding. Since compounds that alter A beta folding may reduce amyloid deposition, the central hydrophobic cluster of A beta will be a tempting target for structure-based drug design when high-resolution structural information becomes available.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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