Indexed on: 06 May '06Published on: 06 May '06Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cks protein Cks1 has a COOH-terminal glutamine-rich sequence not present in other homologues. Cks proteins domain swap to form dimers but unique to Cks1 is the anti-parallel arrangement of protomers within the dimer. Despite the differences in Cks1 compared with other Cks proteins, we find the domain swapping properties are very similar. However, aggregation of Cks1 occurs by a route distinct from the other Cks proteins studied to date. Cks1 formed fibrillar aggregates at room temperature and neutral pH. During this process, Cks1 underwent proteolytic cleavage at a trypsin-like site into two fragments, the globular Cks domain and the glutamine-rich COOH terminus. At high protein concentrations, the rate of fibril formation was the same as the rate of proteolysis. The dominant species present within the fibrils was the glutamine-rich sequence. Consistent with this result, fibril formation was enhanced by addition of trypsin. Moreover, a truncated variant lacking the glutamine-rich sequence did not form fibrils under the same conditions. A lag phase at low protein concentrations indicates that fibril formation occurs through a nucleation and growth mechanism. The aggregates appear to resemble amyloid fibrils, in that they show the typical cross-beta x-ray diffraction pattern. Moreover, infrared spectroscopy data indicate that the glutamine side chains are hydrogen-bonded along the axis of the fibril. Our results indicate that the proteolytic reaction is the crucial step initiating aggregation and demonstrate that Cks1 is a simple, tunable model system for exploring aggregation mechanisms associated with polyglutamine deposition diseases.