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Self- and Cross-Seeding on α‑Synuclein Fibril Growth Kinetics and Structure Observed by High-Speed Atomic Force Microscopy

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posted on 04.08.2020, 13:42 by Takahiro Watanabe-Nakayama, Maika Nawa, Hiroki Konno, Noriyuki Kodera, Toshio Ando, David B. Teplow, Kenjiro Ono
Fibril formation is an obligatory process in amyloid diseases and is characterized by nucleation and elongation phases that result in the formation of long filaments with cross-β sheet structure. The kinetics of this process, as well as that of secondary nucleation, is controlled by a variety of factors, including nucleus (seed) structure, monomer conformation, and biochemical milieu. Some fibrillar amyloid assemblies act as prions, replicating themselves from protein monomers templated by existing prion seeds. Prion strains, which are characterized by distinct physicochemical and pathologic properties, may also form due to perturbation of the templating process within the susceptible organism. Understanding the types and effects of perturbations occurring during the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease is an area requiring more study. Here, we used high-speed atomic force microscopy to determine the kinetics and structural dynamics of α-synuclein fibril elongation initiated by self-seeding or cross-seeding of wild-type (WT) or mutant α-synuclein with WT or mutant α-synuclein seeds. We found that cross-seeding modulated not only elongation rates but also the structures of the growing fibrils. Some fibrils produced in this manner had structures distinct from their “parent” seeds. In other cases, cross-seeding was not observed at all. These findings suggest that α-synuclein sequence variants can produce different types of strains by self- or cross-seeding. Perpetuation of specific strains then would depend on the relative rates of fibril growth and the relative stabilities of the fibrils formed by each strain.