Solid-state NMR studies of the secondary structure of a mutant prion protein fragment of 55 residues that induces neurodegeneration

David D. Laws, Hans Marcus L Bitter, Kai Liu, Haydn L. Ball, Kiyatoshi Kaneko, Holger Wille, Fred E. Cohen, Stanley B. Prusiner, Alexander Pines, David E. Wemmer

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The secondary structure of a 55-residue fragment of the mouse prion protein, MoPrP(89-143), was studied in randomly aggregated (dried from water) and fibrillar (precipitated from water/ acetonitrile) forms by 13C solid-state NMR. Recent studies have shown that the fibrillar form of the P101L mutant of MoPrP(89-143) is capable of inducing prion disease in transgenic mice, whereas unaggregated or randomly aggregated samples do not provoke disease. Through analysis of 13C chemical shifts, we have determined that both wild-type and mutant sequence MoPrP(89-143) form a mixture of β-sheet and α-helical conformations in the randomly aggregated state although the β-sheet content in MoPrP(89-143, P101L) is significantly higher than in the wild-type peptide. In a fibrillar state, MoPrP(89-143, P101L) is completely converted into β-sheet, suggesting that the formation of a specific β-sheet structure may be required for the peptide to induce disease. Studies of an analogous peptide from Syrian hamster PrP verify that sequence alterations in residues 101-117 affect the conformation of aggregated forms of the peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11686-11690
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Sep 25 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General

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