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Amyloidogenicity and neurotoxicity of peptides corresponding to the helical regions of PrP(C)
journal contributionposted on 2000-10-15, 00:00 authored by A Thompson, A R White, C McLean, C L Masters, R Cappai, Colin BarrowColin Barrow
An alpha-helical to beta-sheet conformational change in the prion protein, PrP(C), is believed to be causative in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Recent nuclear magnetic resonance structures of PrP(C) have identified three helical regions in the normal full-length protein. We have synthesised peptides corresponding to these helical regions (PrP144-154, helical region one; PrP178-193, helical region two; and PrP198-218, helical region three). Circular dichroism results show that the peptide corresponding to helical region one is unstructured, while peptides corresponding to the second and third helical regions have a high propensity to form beta-sheet structure in a pH-dependent manner in aqueous solutions. Peptides corresponding to the second helical region, PrP180-193 and PrP178-193, are the only ones that form amyloid by electron microscopy and congo red birefringence. PrP178-193 and the amyloidogenic Alzheimer's disease Abeta25-25 peptide were found to promote Cu (II)-induced lipid peroxidation and cytotoxicity in primary neuronal cultures, while PrP144-154, PrP198-218 and the nonamyloidogenic Abeta1-28 had no effect on Cu (II) toxicity. There was no increase in toxicity induced by PrP178-193 in cultures treated with Fe (II) or hydrogen peroxide, indicating a preferential modulatory effect on Cu (II) toxicity by PrP178-193. The data suggest that the PrP178-193 peptide has both structural and bioactive properties in common with Abeta25-35 and that the second putative helical region of PrP could be involved in modulation of Cu (II)-mediated toxicity in neurons during prion disease.