Solution structure of syrian hamster prion protein rPrP(90-231)

He Liu, Shauna Farr-Jones, Nikolai B. Ulyanov, Manuel Llinas, Susan Marqusee, Darlene Groth, Fred E. Cohen, Stanley B. Prusiner, Thomas L. James

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197 Scopus citations


NMR has been used to refine the structure of Syrian hamster (SHa) prion protein rPrP(90-231), which is commensurate with the infectious protease- resistant core of the scrapie prion protein PrP(Sc). The structure of rPrP(90-231), refolded to resemble the normal cellular isoform PrP(C) spectroscopically and immunologically, has been studied using multidimensional NMR; initial results were published [James et al. (1997) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 94, 10086-10091]. We now report refinement with better definition revealing important structural and dynamic features which can be related to biological observations pertinent to prion diseases. Structure refinement was based on 2778 unambiguously assigned nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) connectivities, 297 ambiguous NOE restraints, and 63 scalar coupling constants (3J(H(N)Ha). The structure is represented by an ensemble of 25 best-scoring structures from 100 structures calculated using ARIA/X-PLOR and further refined with restrained molecular dynamics using the AMBER 4.1 force field with an explicit shell of water molecules. The rPrP(90- 231) structure features a core domain (residues 125-228), with a backbone atomic root-mean-square deviation (RMSD) of 0.67 Å, consisting of three α- helices (residues 144-154, 172-193, and 200-227) and two short antiparallel β-strands (residues 129-131 and 161-163). The N-terminus (residues 90-119) is largely unstructured despite some sparse and weak medium-range NOEs implying the existence of bends or turns. The transition region between the core domain and flexible N-terminus, i.e., residues 113-128, consists of hydrophobic residues or glycines and does not adopt any regular secondary structure in aqueous solution. There are about 30 medium- and long-range NOEs within this hydrophobic cluster, so it clearly manifests structure. Multiple discrete conformations are evident, implying the possible existence of one or more metastable states, which may feature in conversion of PrP(C) to PrP(Sc). To obtain a more comprehensive picture of rPrP(90-231), dynamics have been studied using amide hydrogen-deuterium exchange and 15N NMR relaxation times (T1 and T2) and 15N{1H} NOE measurements. Comparison of the structure with previous reports suggests sequence-dependent features that may be reflected in a species barrier to prion disease transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5362-5377
Number of pages16
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 27 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry


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