The α-helical C-terminal domain of full-length recombinant PrP converts to an in-register parallel β-sheet structure in PrP fibrils: evidence from solid state nuclear magnetic resonance

Biochemistry. 2010 Nov 9;49(44):9488-97. doi: 10.1021/bi1013134.


We report the results of solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements on amyloid fibrils formed by the full-length prion protein PrP (residues 23−231, Syrian hamster sequence). Measurements of intermolecular 13C−13C dipole−dipole couplings in selectively carbonyl-labeled samples indicate that β-sheets in these fibrils have an in-register parallel structure, as previously observed in amyloid fibrils associated with Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes and in yeast prion fibrils. Two-dimensional 13C−13C and 15N−13C solid state NMR spectra of a uniformly 15N- and 13C-labeled sample indicate that a relatively small fraction of the full sequence, localized to the C-terminal end, forms the structurally ordered, immobilized core. Although unique site-specific assignments of the solid state NMR signals cannot be obtained from these spectra, analysis with a Monte Carlo/simulated annealing algorithm suggests that the core is comprised primarily of residues in the 173−224 range. These results are consistent with earlier electron paramagnetic resonance studies of fibrils formed by residues 90−231 of the human PrP sequence, formed under somewhat different conditions [Cobb, N. J., Sonnichsen, F. D., McHaourab, H., and Surewicz, W. K. (2007) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 104, 18946−18951], suggesting that an in-register parallel β-sheet structure formed by the C-terminal end may be a general feature of PrP fibrils prepared in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amyloid / chemistry
  • Amyloid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Mesocricetus
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Prions / chemistry*
  • Prions / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid
  • Prions
  • Recombinant Proteins