Clusterin, a multitasking glycoprotein, is a protein highly conserved amongst mammals. In humans, Clusterin is mainly a secreted protein, described as an extracellular chaperone with the capability of interacting with a broad spectrum of molecules. In neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, it is an amyloid associated protein, co-localized with fibrillar deposits in amyloid plaques in systemic or localized amyloidoses. An 'aggregation-prone' segment (NFHAMFQ) was located within the Clusterin α-chain sequence using AMYLPRED, a consensus method for the prediction of amyloid propensity, developed in our lab. This peptide was synthesized and was found to self-assemble into amyloid-like fibrils in vitro, as electron microscopy, X-ray fiber diffraction, Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier-Transform Spectroscopy and Congo red staining studies reveal. All experimental results verify that this human Clusterin peptide-analogue, possesses high aggregation potency. Additional computational analysis highlighted novel and at the same time, unexplored features of human Clusterin.
Keywords: Aggregation-prediction algorithm; Alzheimer’s disease; Clusterin; Consensus algorithm; Neurodegenerative disease; Protein network; “Aggregation-prone” peptides.