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Title: Metal ion mediated transition from random coil to β-sheet and aggregation of Bri2-23, a natural inhibitor of Aβ aggregation
Authors: Luczkowski, Marek
Stachura, Monika
Potocki, Slawomir
Hemmingsen, Lars
Valensin, Daniela 
Issue Date: 2015
Project: None 
Furin-dependent maturation of the BRI2 protein generates the Bri2-23 fragment that is able to arrest the aggregation of amyloidβ, the peptide implicated in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Bri2-23 contains cysteines at positions 5 and 22, which are likely to bind to metal ions such as Cu(i). Metal ions may play a role in the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders such as AD, and in this work we explore the metal ion induced folding and aggregation of Bri2-23 using Hg(ii) and Ag(i) as spectroscopic probes with structural and ligand preferences similar to those of Cu(i), while not displaying redox activity under the experimental conditions. In general, interaction of Bri2-23 with soft metal ions changes the structural properties and solution behavior of the peptide that tune to increasing metal to peptide stoichiometry. Potentiometric, (199m)Hg PAC and ESI-MS data indicate that addition of up to 0.5 equivalents of Hg(ii) to Bri2-23 yields a two-coordinated HgS2 structure at the metal site. While the free peptide is inherently unstructured, the presence of Ag(i) and Hg(ii) gives rise to β-sheet formation. NMR spectroscopy supports the formation of β-sheet structure in the presence of 0.5 equivalents of Hg(ii), and displays an interesting and marked change in the TOCSY spectra when increasing the Hg(ii) to peptide stoichiometry from 0.5 to 0.7 equivalents, indicating the equilibrium between two structural analogues of the complex. Addition of more than 0.7 equivalents of Hg(ii) gives rise to line broadening, presumably reflecting aggregation. This is further supported by ThT fluorescence studies showing that the Bri2-23 peptide does not aggregate over 24 hours, while addition of over 0.7 equivalents of Ag(i) or Hg(ii) leads to increase of fluorescence, indicating that these metal ions induce aggregation. Thus, a model integrating all data into a coherent picture is that the metal ion binding to the two thiolates gives rise to folding of the peptide into a structure that is prone to aggregation, forming aggregates with a considerable amount of β-sheets. Molecular dynamics simulations initiated with structures that agree with NMR data additionally support this model.
ISSN: 1756-5901
DOI: 10.1039/c4mt00274a
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