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Structure of Met30 variant of transthyretin and its amyloidogenic implications.

  • C J Terry
  • A M Damas
  • P Oliveira
  • M J Saraiva
  • I L Alves
  • P P Costa
  • P M Matias
  • Y Sakaki
  • C C Blake
Publication Date
Feb 01, 1993
  • Biology


Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is an autosomal dominant hereditary type of lethal amyloidosis involving single (or double) amino acid substitutions in the amyloidogenic protein transthyretin (TTR). The most common type of FAP (Type I, or Portuguese) is characterized by a Val-->Met substitution at position 30. The Met30 variant of TTR has been produced by recombinant methods, crystallized in a form isomorphous with native TTR, subjected to X-ray analysis and compared structurally with the wild-type protein. The comparison shows that the effect of the substitution at position 30 is transmitted through the protein core to Cys10, the only thiol group in the TTR subunit, which becomes slightly more exposed. The variant TTR molecule is otherwise in a near-native state. Use of computer graphics has shown that it is possible to model a linear aggregate of TTR molecules, each linked to the next by a pair of disulphide bonds involving Cys10 residues. Formation of these disulphide bonds involves a small number of slightly short molecular contacts with native TTR molecules, most of which are relieved in the Met30 variant. We propose this model as a possible basis for a molecular description of the FAP amyloid fibrils.

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