Distinct growth regimes of α-synuclein amyloid elongation
2023, Horvath, Istvan, Welte, Hannah, Schmit, Jeremy D., Kovermann, Michael, Wittung-Stafshede, Pernilla
Addition of amyloid seeds to aggregation-prone monomers allows for amyloid fiber growth (elongation) omitting slow nucleation. We here combine Thioflavin T fluorescence (probing formation of amyloids) and solution-state NMR spectroscopy (probing disappearance of monomers) to assess elongation kinetics of the amyloidogenic protein, α-synuclein, for which aggregation is linked to Parkinson’s disease. We found that both spectroscopic detection methods give similar kinetic results, which can be fitted by applying double exponential decay functions. When the origin of the two-phase behavior was analyzed by mathematical modeling, parallel paths as well as stop-and-go behavior were excluded as possible explanations. Instead, supported by previous theory, the experimental elongation data reveal distinct kinetic regimes that depend on instantaneous monomer concentration. At low monomer concentrations (toward end of experiments), amyloid growth is limited by conformational changes resulting in β-strand alignments. At the higher monomer concentrations (initial time points of experiments), growth occurs rapidly by incorporating monomers that have not successfully completed the conformational search. The presence of a fast disordered elongation regime at high monomer concentrations agrees with coarse-grained simulations and theory but has not been detected experimentally before. Our results may be related to the wide range of amyloid folds observed.
Insights into protein stability in cell lysate by 19F NMR spectroscopy
2020-12-11, Welte, Hannah, Kovermann, Michael
In living organisms, protein folding and function take place in an inhomogeneous, highly crowded environment possessing a concentration of diverse macromolecules of up to 400 g/L. It has been shown that the intracellular environment has a pronounced effect on the stability, dynamics and function of the protein under study and has for this reason to be considered. However, most protein studies are neglecting the presence of these macromolecules. Consequently, we probe here the overall thermodynamic stability of cold shock protein B from Bacillus subtilis ( Bs CspB) in cell lysate. We found that an increase in cell lysate concentration causes a monotonic increase in thermodynamic stability of Bs CspB. This result strongly underlines the importance of considering the biological environment when inherent protein parameters shall be quantitatively determined. Moreover, we demonstrate that the targeted application of 19 F NMR spectroscopy operates as an ideal tool utilized to protein studies performed in complex cellular surroundings.
What does fluorine do to a protein? : Thermodynamic, and highly-resolved structural insights into fluorine-labelled variants of the cold shock protein
2020-02-14, Welte, Hannah, Zhou, Tiankun, Mihajlenko, Xenia, Mayans, Olga, Kovermann, Michael
Fluorine labelling represents one promising approach to study proteins in their native environment due to efficient suppressing of background signals. Here, we systematically probe inherent thermodynamic and structural characteristics of the Cold shock protein B from Bacillus subtilis (BsCspB) upon fluorine labelling. A sophisticated combination of fluorescence and NMR experiments has been applied to elucidate potential perturbations due to insertion of fluorine into the protein. We show that single fluorine labelling of phenylalanine or tryptophan residues has neither significant impact on thermodynamic stability nor on folding kinetics compared to wild type BsCspB. Structure determination of fluorinated phenylalanine and tryptophan labelled BsCspB using X-ray crystallography reveals no displacements even for the orientation of fluorinated aromatic side chains in comparison to wild type BsCspB. Hence we propose that single fluorinated phenylalanine and tryptophan residues used for protein labelling may serve as ideal probes to reliably characterize inherent features of proteins that are present in a highly biological context like the cell.
Fluorine NMR spectroscopy enables to quantify the affinity between DNA and proteins in cell lysate
2021-10-13, Welte, Hannah, Sinn, Pia, Kovermann, Michael
The determination of the binding affinity quantifying the interaction between proteins and nucleic acids is of crucial interest in biological and chemical research. Here, we have made use of sitespecific fluorine labeling of the cold shock protein from Bacillus subtiliis , Bs CspB, enabling to directly monitor the interaction with single stranded DNA molecules in cell lysate. High-resolution 19 F NMR spectroscopy has been applied to exclusively report on resonance signals arising from the protein under study. We have found that this experimental approach advances the reliable determination of the binding affinity between single stranded DNA molecules and its target protein in this complex biological environment by intertwining analyses based on NMR chemical shifts, signal heights, line shapes and simulations. We propose that the here developed experimental platform offers a potent approach for the identification of binding affinities characterizing intermolecular interactions in native surroundings covering the nano-to-micromolar range that can be even expanded to in cell applications in future studies.
Targeted expression and purification of fluorine labelled cold shock protein B by using an auxotrophic strategy
2019-05, Welte, Hannah, Kovermann, Michael
High resolution NMR spectroscopy is a seminal method in modern structural biology to obtain insights into proteins' structure, dynamics and function at dilute condition as well as in a cell-like environment or even intracellularly. Usually, 1H, 15N or 13C nuclei are predominantly used for the characterization of the protein of interest. These measurements are limited due to the wealth of chemical shifts and background signals arising from all molecules present in the NMR test tube. On top of that, the protein under study has to be isotopically enriched in nitrogen and/or carbon nuclei enabling to overcome the inherently low natural abundance of 13C and 15N NMR active isotopes. In this way switching to 19F NMR spectroscopy strongly reduces the total amount of signals seen in an NMR spectrum as it turns off background signals and is for this reason extremely attractive for highly-resolved investigations of proteins performance measured directly in cells or in a cell-like environment. Here we show the effective expression and purification of cold shock protein B from Bacillus subtilis (BsCspB) using fluorine labelled phenylalanine or fluorine labelled tryptophan residues. We reveal that fluorine labelled BsCspB represents the same fold on a secondary as tertiary level as seen for the wild type protein independent of the labelling position illuminating the soft character of fluorine insertion. This experimental setup of targeted fluorine labelling sets a profound ground for a broad range of highly-resolved 19F NMR applications to be performed in a complex cellular environment.