Intermolecular crosslinking of abnormal prion protein is efficiently induced by a primuline-sensitized photoreaction

Kenta Teruya, Keiko Nishizawa, Ayumi Oguma, Yuji Sakasegawa, Tetsuyuki Kitamoto, Katsumi Doh-ura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In prion diseases, infectious pathogenic particles that are composed of abnormal prion proteins (PrPSc) accumulate in the brain. PrPSc is biochemically characterized by its protease-resistance core (PrPres), but its structural features have not been fully elucidated. Here, we report that primuline, a fluorescent dye with photosensitization activity, dramatically enhances UV-irradiation-induced SDS-resistant PrPSc/res oligomer formation that can be detected by immunoblot analysis of prion-infected materials. This oligomer formation occurs specifically with PrPSc/res but not with normal prion protein, and it was demonstrated using purified PrPSc/res as well as unpurified materials. The oligomer formation proceeded in both primuline-dose- and UV irradiation time-dependent manners. Treatment with urea or formic acid did not break oligomers into monomers. Neither did the presence of aromatic amino acids modify oligomer formation. Analysis with a panel of anti-prion protein antibodies showed that the antibodies against the N-terminal region of PrPres were less reactive in the dimer than the monomer. These findings suggest that the primuline-sensitized photoreaction enhances intermolecular crosslinking of PrPSc/res molecules at a hydrophobic area of the N-terminal region of PrPres. In the screening of other compounds, photoreactive compounds such as luciferin exhibited a similar but lower activity with respect to oligomer formation than primuline. The enhanced photoreaction with these compounds will be useful for evaluating the structural features of PrPSc/res, especially the interactions between PrPSc/res molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb


  • Amyloid
  • Crosslinking
  • Fibril
  • Interface
  • Oligomer
  • Prion


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