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Background: Amyloidogenic proteins are most often associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease, but there are more than two dozen human proteins known to form amyloid fibrils associated with disease. Lysozyme is an antimicrobial protein that is used as a general model to study amyloid fibril formation. Studies aimed at elucidating the process of amyloid formation of lysozyme tend to focus on partial unfolding of the native state due to the relative instability of mutant amyloidogenic variants. While this is well supported, the data presented here suggest the native structure of the variants may also play a role in primary nucleation. Results: Three-dimensional structural analysis identified lysozyme residues 21, 62, 104, and 122 as displaced in both amyloidogenic variants compared to wild type lysozyme. Residue interaction network (RIN) analysis found greater clustering of residues 112-117 in amyloidogenic variants of lysozyme compared to wild type. An analysis of the most energetically favored predicted dimers and trimers provided further evidence for a role for residues 21, 62, 104, 122, and 112-117 in amyloid formation. Conclusions: This study used lysozyme as a model to demonstrate the utility of combining 3D structural analysis with RIN analysis for studying the general process of amyloidogenesis. Results indicated that binding of two or more amyloidogenic lysozyme mutants may be involved in amyloid nucleation by placing key residues (21, 62, 104, 122, and 112-117) in proximity before partial unfolding occurs. Identifying residues in the native state that may be involved in amyloid formation could provide novel drug targets to prevent a range of amyloidoses.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.