Optical Trapping with High Forces Reveals Unexpected Behaviors of Prion Fibrils
Author(s)Dong, Jijun; Castro, Carlos E.; Boyce, Mary Cunningham; Lang, Matthew J.; Lindquist, Susan
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Amyloid fibrils are important in diverse cellular functions, feature in many human diseases and have potential applications in nanotechnology. Here we describe methods that combine optical trapping and fluorescent imaging to characterize the forces that govern the integrity of amyloid fibrils formed by a yeast prion protein. A crucial advance was to use the self-templating properties of amyloidogenic proteins to tether prion fibrils, enabling their manipulation in the optical trap. At normal pulling forces the fibrils were impervious to disruption. At much higher forces (up to 250 pN), discontinuities occurred in force-extension traces before fibril rupture. Experiments with selective amyloid-disrupting agents and mutations demonstrated that such discontinuities were caused by the unfolding of individual subdomains. Thus, our results reveal unusually strong noncovalent intermolecular contacts that maintain fibril integrity even when individual monomers partially unfold and extend fibril length.
Departmentmove to dc.description.sponsorship; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Biological Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Biology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
Nature Publishing Group
Dong, Jijun et al. “Optical Trapping with High Forces Reveals Unexpected Behaviors of Prion Fibrils.” Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 17.12 (2010): 1422–1430.
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