Indexed on: 01 Nov '01Published on: 01 Nov '01Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
To obtain insight into the mechanism of amyloid fibril formation from beta(2)-microglobulin (beta2-m), we prepared a series of peptide fragments using a lysine-specific protease from Achromobacter lyticus and examined their ability to form amyloid fibrils at pH 2.5. Among the nine peptides prepared by the digestion, the peptide Ser(20)-Lys(41) (K3) spontaneously formed amyloid fibrils, confirmed by thioflavin T binding and electron microscopy. The fibrils composed of K3 peptide induced fibril formation of intact beta2-m with a lag phase, distinct from the extension reaction without a lag phase observed for intact beta2-m seeds. Fibril formation of K3 peptide with intact beta2-m seeds also exhibited a lag phase. On the other hand, the extension reaction of K3 peptide with the K3 seeds occurred without a lag phase. At neutral pH, the fibrils composed of either intact beta2-m or K3 peptide spontaneously depolymerized. Intriguingly, the depolymerization of K3 fibrils was faster than that of intact beta2-m fibrils. These results indicated that, although K3 peptide can form fibrils by itself more readily than intact beta2-m, the K3 fibrils are less stable than the intact beta2-m fibrils, suggesting a close relation between the free energy barrier of amyloid fibril formation and its stability.