Prion Protein - Antibody Complexes Characterized by Chromatography-Coupled Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering

Lester Carter, Seung Joong Kim, Dina Schneidman-Duhovny, Jan Stöhr, Guillaume Poncet-Montange, Thomas M. Weiss, Hiro Tsuruta, Stanley B. Prusiner*, Andrej Sali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Aberrant self-assembly, induced by structural misfolding of the prion proteins, leads to a number of neurodegenerative disorders. In particular, misfolding of the mostly α-helical cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a β-sheet-rich disease-causing isoform (PrPSc) is the key molecular event in the formation of PrPSc aggregates. The molecular mechanisms underlying the PrPC-to-PrPSc conversion and subsequent aggregation remain to be elucidated. However, in persistently prion-infected cell-culture models, it was shown that treatment with monoclonal antibodies against defined regions of the prion protein (PrP) led to the clearing of PrPSc in cultured cells. To gain more insight into this process, we characterized PrP-antibody complexes in solution using a fast protein liquid chromatography coupled with small-angle x-ray scattering (FPLC-SAXS) procedure. High-quality SAXS data were collected for full-length recombinant mouse PrP [denoted recPrP(23-230)] and N-terminally truncated recPrP(89-230), as well as their complexes with each of two Fab fragments (HuM-P and HuM-R1), which recognize N- and C-terminal epitopes of PrP, respectively. In-line measurements by fast protein liquid chromatography coupled with SAXS minimized data artifacts caused by a non-monodispersed sample, allowing structural analysis of PrP alone and in complex with Fab antibodies. The resulting structural models suggest two mechanisms for how these Fabs may prevent the conversion of PrPC into PrPSc.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)793-805
Number of pages13
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 10 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Biophysical Society.


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