Molecular Bases of Disease
- Systemic amyloidosis caused by extracellular deposition of insoluble fibrils derived from the pathological aggregation of circulating proteins, such as transthyretin, is a severe and usually fatal condition. Elucidation of the molecular pathogenic mechanism of the disease and discovery of effective therapies still represents a challenging medical issue. The in vitro preparation of amyloid fibrils that exhibit structural and biochemical properties closely similar to those of natural fibrils is central to improving our understanding of the biophysical basis of amyloid formation in vivo and may offer an important tool for drug discovery.
- Systemic amyloidosis is a usually fatal disease caused by extracellular accumulation of abnormal protein fibers, amyloid fibrils, derived by misfolding and aggregation of soluble globular plasma protein precursors. Both WT and genetic variants of the normal plasma protein transthyretin (TTR) form amyloid, but neither the misfolding leading to fibrillogenesis nor the anatomical localization of TTR amyloid deposition are understood. We have previously shown that, under physiological conditions, trypsin cleaves human TTR in a mechano-enzymatic mechanism that generates abundant amyloid fibrils in vitro.