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Biochemical Identification of a Linear Cholesterol-Binding Domain within Alzheimer’s β Amyloid Peptide

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posted on 20.03.2013, 00:00 by Coralie Di Scala, Nouara Yahi, Clément Lelièvre, Nicolas Garmy, Henri Chahinian, Jacques Fantini
Alzheimer’s β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides can self-organize into amyloid pores that may induce acute neurotoxic effects in brain cells. Membrane cholesterol, which regulates Aβ production and oligomerization, plays a key role in this process. Although several data suggested that cholesterol could bind to Aβ peptides, the molecular mechanisms underlying cholesterol/Aβ interactions are mostly unknown. On the basis of docking studies, we identified the linear fragment 22–35 of Aβ as a potential cholesterol-binding domain. This domain consists of an atypical concatenation of polar/apolar amino acid residues that was not previously found in cholesterol-binding motifs. Using the Langmuir film balance technique, we showed that synthetic peptides Aβ17–40 and Aβ22–35, but not Aβ1–16, could efficiently penetrate into cholesterol monolayers. The interaction between Aβ22–35 and cholesterol was fully saturable and lipid-specific. Single-point mutations of Val-24 and Lys-28 in Aβ22–35 prevented cholesterol binding, whereas mutations at residues 29, 33, and 34 had little to no effect. These data were consistent with the in silico identification of Val-24 and Lys-28 as critical residues for cholesterol binding. We conclude that the linear fragment 22–35 of Aβ is a functional cholesterol-binding domain that could promote the insertion of β-amyloid peptides or amyloid pore formation in cholesterol-rich membrane domains.

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