Analysis of the secondary structure of β-amyloid (Aβ42) fibrils by systematic proline replacement

Akira Morimoto, Kazuhiro Irie, Kazuma Murakami, Yuichi Masuda, Hajime Ohigashi, Masaya Nagao, Hiroyuki Fukuda, Takahiko Shimizu, Takuji Shirasawa

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152 Citations (Scopus)


Amyloid fibrils in Alzheimer's disease mainly consist of 40- and 42-mer β-amyloid peptides (Aβ40 and Aβ42) that exhibit aggregative ability and neurotoxicity. Although the aggregates of Aβ peptides are rich in intermolecular β-sheet, the precise secondary structure of Aβ in the aggregates remains unclear. To identify the amino acid residues involved in the β-sheet formation, 34 proline-substituted mutants of Aβ42 were synthesized and their aggregative ability and neurotoxicity on PC12 cells were examined. Prolines are rarely present in β-sheet, whereas they are easily accommodated in β-turn as a Pro-X corner. Among the mutants at positions 15-32, only E22P-Aβ42 extensively aggregated with stronger neurotoxicity than wild-type Aβ42, suggesting that the residues at positions 15-21 and 24-32 are involved in the β-sheet and that the turn at positions 22 and 23 plays a crucial role in the aggregation and neurotoxicity of Aβ42. The C-terminal proline mutants (A42P-, I41P-, and V40P-Aβ42) hardly aggregated with extremely weak cytotoxicity, whereas the C-terminal threonine mutants (A42T- and I41T-Aβ42) aggregated potently with significant cytotoxicity. These results indicate that the hydrophobicity of the C-terminal two residues of Aβ42 is not related to its aggregative ability and neurotoxicity, rather the C-terminal three residues adopt the β-sheet. These results demonstrate well the large difference in aggregative ability and neurotoxicity between Aβ42 and Aβ40. In contrast, the proline mutants at the N-terminal 13 residues showed potent aggregative ability and neurotoxicity similar to those of wild-type Aβ42. The identification of the β-sheet region of Aβ42 is a basis for designing new aggregation inhibitors of Aβ peptides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52781-52788
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec 10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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