Nucleic-acid-induced polymerisation of prion protein, when monitored by anilino naphthalene sulfonic acid dye, shows, successively, an immediate fluorescence increase of the dye upon mixing of the reactants, followed by a lag period in which the dye fluorescence remains unchanged, and then a phase in which dye fluorescence increases with time. The biological polyamines spermine and spermidine reduce the extent of the initial fluorescence increase, increase the lag period, and reduce both the rate and the extent of increase in fluorescence intensity of the dye in the final phase of the reaction. Spermidine is less effective than spermine in all of these processes. A nearly fivefold lower concentration of spermine can inhibit polymerisation of prion protein by tRNAs compared to the same process induced by double-stranded nucleic acid. The change in the secondary structure of the globular domain of the protein induced by nucleic acid is reversed by the addition of spermine, and it prevents structural destabilization of this domain induced by nucleic acids. It is suggested that physiological event(s) that would reduce the concentrations of intracellular biological amines may make nucleic acid available to induce oligomerization and polymerisation of cellular prion protein related to prion disease.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 2007
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