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Prion protein fragment 106-126 induces a p38 MAP kinase-dependent apoptosis in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells independently from the amyloid fibril formation

, : Prion protein fragment 106-126 induces a p38 MAP kinase-dependent apoptosis in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells independently from the amyloid fibril formation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1010: 610-622

Prion diseases are neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system of humans and animals, characterized by spongiform degeneration of the central nervous system, astrogliosis, and deposition of amyloid into the brain. The conversion of a cellular glycoprotein (prion protein, PrP(C)) into an altered isoform (PrP(Sc)) has been proposed to represent the causative event responsible for these diseases. The peptide corresponding to the residues 106-126 of PrP sequence (PrP106-126) is largely used to explore the neurotoxic mechanisms underlying the prion diseases. We investigated the intracellular signaling responsible for PrP106-126-dependent cell death in the SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cell line. In these cells, PrP106-126 treatment induced apoptotic cell death and the activation of caspase-3. The p38 MAP-kinase blockers (SB203580 and PD169316) prevented the apoptotic cell death evoked by PrP106-126 and Western blot analysis revealed that the exposure of the cells to the peptide induced p38 activation. However, whether the neuronal toxicity of PrP106-126 is caused by a soluble or fibrillar form of this peptide is still unknown. In this study, we correlated the structural state of this peptide with its neurotoxicity. We show that the two conserved glycines in position 114 and 119 prevent the peptide to assume a structured conformation, favoring its aggregation in amyloid fibrils. The substitution of both glycines with alanine residues (PrP106-126AA) generates a soluble nonamyloidogenic peptide, that retained its toxic properties when incubated with neuroblastoma cells. These data show that the amyloid aggregation is not necessary for the induction of the toxic effects of PrP106-126.


PMID: 15033801

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