(1/2897) Characterization of the interaction domains of Ure2p, a prion-like protein of yeast.

In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the non-Mendelian inherited genetic element [URE3] behaves as a prion. A hypothesis has been put forward which states that [URE3] arises spontaneously from its cellular isoform Ure2p (the product of the URE2 gene), and propagates through interactions of the N-terminal domain of the protein, thus leading to its aggregation and loss of function. In the present study, various N- and C-terminal deletion mutants of Ure2p were constructed and their cross-interactions were tested in vitro and in vivo using affinity binding and a two-hybrid analysis. We show that the self-interaction of the protein is mediated by at least two domains, corresponding to the first third of the protein (the so-called prion-forming domain) and the C-terminal catalytic domain.  (+info)

(2/2897) Prion domain initiation of amyloid formation in vitro from native Ure2p.

The [URE3] non-Mendelian genetic element of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an infectious protein (prion) form of Ure2p, a regulator of nitrogen catabolism. Here, synthetic Ure2p1-65 were shown to polymerize to form filaments 40 to 45 angstroms in diameter with more than 60 percent beta sheet. Ure2p1-65 specifically induced full-length native Ure2p to copolymerize under conditions where native Ure2p alone did not polymerize. Like Ure2p in extracts of [URE3] strains, these 180- to 220-angstrom-diameter filaments were protease resistant. The Ure2p1-65-Ure2p cofilaments could seed polymerization of native Ure2p to form thicker, less regular filaments. All filaments stained with Congo Red to produce the green birefringence typical of amyloid. This self-propagating amyloid formation can explain the properties of [URE3].  (+info)

(3/2897) A novel epitope for the specific detection of exogenous prion proteins in transgenic mice and transfected murine cell lines.

Prion diseases are closely linked to the conversion of host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC) into its pathological isoform (PrPSc). PrP conversion experiments in scrapie infected tissue culture cells, transgenic mice, and cell-free systems usually require unique epitopes and corresponding monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for the immunological discrimination of exogenously introduced and endogenous PrP compounds (e.g., MAb 3F4, which is directed to an epitope on hamster and human but not on murine PrP). In the current work, we characterize a novel MAb designated L42 that reacts to PrP of a variety of species, including cattle, sheep, goat, dog, human, cat, mink, rabbit, and guinea pig, but does not bind to mouse, hamster, and rat PrP. Therefore, MAb L42 may allow future in vitro conversion and transgenic studies on PrPs of the former species. The MAb L42 epitope on PrPC includes a tyrosine residue at position 144, whereas mouse, rat, and hamster PrPs incorporate tryptophane at this site. To verify this observation, we generated PrP expression vectors coding for authentic or mutated murine PrPCs (i.e., codon 144 encoding tyrosine instead of tryptophan). After transfection into neuroblastoma cells, MAb L42 did not react with immunoblotted wild-type murine PrPC, whereas L42 epitope-tagged murine PrPC was strongly recognized. Immunoblot and fluorescence-activated cell sorting data revealed that tagged PrPC was correctly posttranslationally processed and translocated to the cell surface.  (+info)

(4/2897) Fatal familial insomnia: a new Austrian family.

We present clinical, pathological and molecular features of the first Austrian family with fatal familial insomnia. Detailed clinical data are available in five patients and autopsy in four patients. Age at onset of disease ranged between 20 and 60 years, and disease duration between 8 and 20 months. Severe loss of weight was an early symptom in all five patients. Four patients developed insomnia and/or autonomic dysfunction, and all five patients developed motor abnormalities. Analysis of the prion protein (PrP) gene revealed the codon 178 point mutation and methionine homozygosity at position 129. In all brains, neuropathology showed widespread cortical astrogliosis, widespread brainstem nuclei and tract degeneration, and olivary 'pseudohypertrophy' with vacuolated neurons, in addition to neuropathological features described previously, such as thalamic and olivary degeneration. Western blotting of one brain and immunocytochemistry in four brains revealed quantitative and regional dissociation between PrP(res)(the protease resistant form of PrP) deposition and histopathology. In the cerebellar cortex of one patient, PrP(res) deposits were prominent in the molecular layer and displayed a peculiar patchy and strip-like pattern with perpendicular orientation to the surface. In another patient, a single vacuolated neuron in the inferior olivary nuclei contained prominent intravacuolar granular PrP(res) deposits, resembling changes of brainstem neurons in bovine spongiform encephalopathy.  (+info)

(5/2897) Copper binding to the prion protein: structural implications of four identical cooperative binding sites.

Evidence is growing to support a functional role for the prion protein (PrP) in copper metabolism. Copper ions appear to bind to the protein in a highly conserved octapeptide repeat region (sequence PHGGGWGQ) near the N terminus. To delineate the site and mode of binding of Cu(II) to the PrP, the copper-binding properties of peptides of varying lengths corresponding to 2-, 3-, and 4-octarepeat sequences have been probed by using various spectroscopic techniques. A two-octarepeat peptide binds a single Cu(II) ion with Kd approximately 6 microM whereas a four-octarepeat peptide cooperatively binds four Cu(II) ions. Circular dichroism spectra indicate a distinctive structuring of the octarepeat region on Cu(II) binding. Visible absorption, visible circular dichroism, and electron spin resonance spectra suggest that the coordination sphere of the copper is identical for 2, 3, or 4 octarepeats, consisting of a square-planar geometry with three nitrogen ligands and one oxygen ligand. Consistent with the pH dependence of Cu(II) binding, proton NMR spectroscopy indicates that the histidine residues in each octarepeat are coordinated to the Cu(II) ion. Our working model for the structure of the complex shows the histidine residues in successive octarepeats bridged between two copper ions, with both the Nepsilon2 and Ndelta1 imidazole nitrogen of each histidine residue coordinated and the remaining coordination sites occupied by a backbone amide nitrogen and a water molecule. This arrangement accounts for the cooperative nature of complex formation and for the apparent evolutionary requirement for four octarepeats in the PrP.  (+info)

(6/2897) The yeast non-Mendelian factor [ETA+] is a variant of [PSI+], a prion-like form of release factor eRF3.

The yeast non-Mendelian factor [ETA+] is lethal in the presence of certain mutations in the SUP35 and SUP45 genes, which code for the translational release factors eRF3 and eRF1, respectively. One such mutation, sup35-2, is now shown to contain a UAG stop codon prior to the essential region of the gene. The non-Mendelian inheritance of [ETA+] is reminiscent of the yeast [PSI+] element, which is due to a self-propagating conformation of Sup35p. Here we show that [ETA+] and [PSI+] share many characteristics. Indeed, like [PSI+], the maintenance of [ETA+] requires the N-terminal region of Sup35p and depends on an appropriate level of the chaperone protein Hsp104. Moreover, [ETA+] can be induced de novo by excess Sup35p, and [ETA+] cells have a weak nonsense suppressor phenotype characteristic of weak [PSI+]. We conclude that [ETA+] is actually a weak, unstable variant of [PSI+]. We find that although some Sup35p aggregates in [ETA+] cells, more Sup35p remains soluble in [ETA+] cells than in isogenic strong [PSI+] cells. Our data suggest that the amount of soluble Sup35p determines the strength of translational nonsense suppression associated with different [PSI+] variants.  (+info)

(7/2897) Application of distance geometry to 3D visualization of sequence relationships.

SUMMARY: We describe the application of distance geometry methods to the three-dimensional visualization of sequence relationships, with examples for mumps virus SH gene cDNA and prion protein sequences. Sequence-sequence distance measures may be obtained from either a multiple sequence alignment or from sets of pairwise alignments. AVAILABILITY: C/Perl code and HTML/VRML files from http://www.nibsc.ac.uk/dg3dseq/  (+info)

(8/2897) Effectiveness of polyene antibiotics in treatment of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in transgenic mice expressing Syrian hamster PrP only in neurons.

To date very few drugs have favorably influenced the course of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. In previous studies, the polyene antibiotics amphotericin B (AmB) and MS-8209 prolonged the incubation time in Syrian hamsters of the 263K strain of scrapie, but AmB had no effect against other scrapie strains in Syrian hamsters. In the present experiments using transgenic mice expressing Syrian hamster PrP in neurons only, MS-8209 extended the life spans of animals infected with the 263K strain but not the DY strain. AmB was effective against both 263K and DY and prevented death in 18% of DY-infected animals. The AmB effect against strain 263K was more prominent in mice whose endogenous PrP gene had been inactivated by homologous recombination. It was unclear whether this difference was due to a change in the duration of the disease or to possible interactive effects between the mouse PrP gene and the drugs themselves. The effectiveness of treatment after intracerebral scrapie infection in transgenic mice expressing PrP only in neurons suggested that neurons are important sites of action for these drugs.  (+info)