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Familial prion disease-related mutation E196K displays a novel amyloid fibril structure revealed by cryo-EM

By Li-Qiang Wang, Kun Zhao, Han-Ye Yuan, Xiang-Ning Li, Hai-Bin Dang, Yeyang Ma, Qiang Wang, Chen Wang, Yunpeng Sun, Jie Chen, Dan Li, Delin Zhang, Ping Yin, Cong Liu, Yi Liang

Posted 18 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.18.431846

Prion diseases are caused by the conformational conversion of prion protein (PrP) from its cellular form (PrPC) into a protease-resistant, aggregated form (PrPSc). 42 different familial mutations were identified in human PrP, which lead to genetic prion diseases with distinct clinical syndromes. Here we report cryo-EM structure of an amyloid fibril formed by full-length human PrP with E196K mutation, a familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease-related mutation. This mutation disrupts key interactions in wild-type PrP fibril and results in a rearrangement of the overall structure, forming an amyloid fibril with a conformation distinct from wild-type PrP fibril. The E196K fibril consists of two protofibrils intertwined into a left-handed helix. Each subunit forms five {beta}-strands stabilized by a disulfide bond and an unusual hydrophilic cavity. Two pairs of amino acids (Lys194 and Glu207; Lys196 and Glu200) from opposing subunits form four salt bridges to stabilize the zigzag interface of the two protofibrils. Furthermore, the E196K fibril exhibits a significantly lower conformational stability and protease resistance activity than the wild-type fibril. Our results provide direct structural evidences of the diverse mammalian prion strains and fibril polymorphism of PrP, and highlight the importance of familial mutations in determining the different prion strains.

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