Hydrogen bonds connecting the N-terminal region and the DE loop stabilize the monomeric structure of transthyretin

J Biochem. 2023 Sep 29;174(4):355-370. doi: 10.1093/jb/mvad049.


Transthyretin (TTR) is a homo-tetrameric serum protein associated with sporadic and hereditary systemic amyloidosis. TTR amyloid formation proceeds by the dissociation of the TTR tetramer and the subsequent partial unfolding of the TTR monomer into an aggregation-prone conformation. Although TTR kinetic stabilizers suppress tetramer dissociation, a strategy for stabilizing monomers has not yet been developed. Here, we show that an N-terminal C10S mutation increases the thermodynamic stability of the TTR monomer by forming new hydrogen bond networks through the side chain hydroxyl group of Ser10. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulation revealed that the Ser10 hydroxyl group forms hydrogen bonds with the main chain amide group of either Gly57 or Thr59 on the DE loop. These hydrogen bonds prevent the dissociation of edge strands in the DAGH and CBEF β-sheets during the unfolding of the TTR monomer by stabilizing the interaction between β-strands A and D and the quasi-helical structure in the DE loop. We propose that introducing hydrogen bonds to connect the N-terminal region to the DE loop reduces the amyloidogenic potential of TTR by stabilizing the monomer.

Keywords: NMR < methods; denaturation < protein; folding < protein; molecular dynamics < methods; transthyretin.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid / chemistry
  • Amyloid / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation*
  • Prealbumin* / chemistry
  • Prealbumin* / genetics
  • Prealbumin* / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation


  • Prealbumin
  • Amyloid