The role of Cys179-Cys214 disulfide bond in the stability and folding of prion protein: Insights from molecular dynamics simulations

Lulu Ning, Jingjing Guo, Nengzhi Jin, Huanxiang Liu, Xiaojun Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prion diseases are associated with misfolding and aggregation of prion protein (PrP). Cellular prion protein contains a disulfide bond linking Cys residues at positions 179 and 214. It has been proposed that this disulfide bond plays an important role in the conversion between cellular (PrPC) and the scrapie form of prion protein (PrPSc). To probe the role of this disulfide bond in the stability and folding of prion protein, we employed molecular dynamics simulations to study the reduced prion protein and a variant of PrP in which the two cysteines were replaced by alanines residues. The simulations highlighted the changes that occurred upon breakage of the disulfide bond. Breakage of the disulfide bond resulted in a shift of H1, elongation of the native β-sheet and perturbation of the hydrophobic core of huPrP. The changes are similar to the conformational transitions of prion protein in low pH, in denaturing conditions or with pathogenic mutations, which indicate that rupture of the disulfide bond may lead to the misfolding of prion protein.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2106
JournalJournal of Molecular Modeling
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Disulfide bond
  • Misfolding
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Prion diseases

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