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.
- The amyloidogenic variant of β2-microglobulin, D76N, can readily convert into genuine fibrils under physiological conditions and primes in vitro the fibrillogenesis of the wild-type β2-microglobulin. By Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy, we have demonstrated that the amyloid transformation of wild-type β2-microglobulin can be induced by the variant only after its complete fibrillar conversion. Our current findings are consistent with preliminary data in which we have shown a seeding effect of fibrils formed from D76N or the natural truncated form of β2-microglobulin lacking the first six N-terminal residues.