3 years ago

PrP P102L and nearby lysine mutations promote spontaneous in vitro formation of transmissible prions.

Anson KJ, Raymond LD, Hughson AG, Kraus A, Caughey B, Campbell KJ, Raymond GJ, Race B
Accumulation of fibrillar protein aggregates is a hallmark of many diseases. While numerous proteins form fibrils by prion-like seeded polymerization in vitro, only some are transmissible and pathogenic in vivo To probe the structural features that confer transmissibility to prion protein (PrP) fibrils, we have analyzed synthetic PrP amyloids with or without the human prion disease-associated P102L mutation. The formation of infectious prions from PrP molecules in vitro has required cofactors and/or unphysiological denaturing conditions. Here, we demonstrate that, under physiologically compatible conditions without cofactors, the P102L mutation in recombinant hamster PrP promoted prion formation when seeded by minute amounts of scrapie prions in vitro Surprisingly, combination of the P102L mutation with charge-neutralizing substitutions of four nearby lysines promoted spontaneous prion formation. When inoculated into hamsters, both of these types of synthetic prions initiated substantial accumulation of prion seeding activity and protease-resistant PrP without TSE clinical signs or notable glial activation. Our evidence suggests PrP's centrally located proline and lysine residues act as conformational switches in the in vitro formation of transmissible PrP amyloids.IMPORTANCE Many diseases involve the damaging accumulation of specific misfolded proteins in thread-like aggregates. These threads (fibrils) are capable of growing on the ends by seeding the refolding and incorporation of the normal form of the given protein. In many cases such aggregates can be infectious and propagate like prions when transmitted from one individual host to another. Some transmitted aggregates can cause fatal disease, as with human iatrogenic prion diseases, while other aggregates appear to be relatively innocuous. The factors that distinguish infectious and pathogenic protein aggregates from more innocuous ones are poorly understood. Here we have compared the combined effects of prion seeding and mutations of prion protein (PrP) on the structure and transmission properties of synthetic PrP aggregates. Our results highlight the influence of specific sequence features in the normally unstructured region of PrP that influence the infectious and neuropathogenic properties of PrP-derived aggregates.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28835493

DOI: PubMed:28835493

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