Interactions driving the collapse of islet amyloid polypeptide: implications for amyloid aggregation
Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), also known as amylin, is a 37-residue intrinsically disordered hormone involved in glucose regulation and gastric emptying. The aggregation of hIAPP into amyloid fibrils is believed to play a causal role in type 2 diabetes. To date, not much is known about the monomeric state of hIAPP or how it undergoes an irreversible transformation from disordered peptide to insoluble aggregate. IAPP contains a highly conserved disulfide bond that restricts hIAPP(1-8) into a short ring-like structure: N_loop. Removal or chemical reduction of N_loop not only prevents cell response upon binding to the CGRP receptor, but also alters the mass per length distribution of hIAPP fibers and the kinetics of fibril formation. The mechanism by which N_loop affects hIAPP aggregation is not yet understood, but is important for rationalizing kinetics and developing potential inhibitors. By measuring end-to-end contact formation rates, Vaiana et al. showed that N_loop induces collapsed states in IAPP monomers, implying attractive interactions between N_loop and other regions of the disordered polypeptide chain . We show that in addition to being involved in intra-protein interactions, the N_loop is involved in inter-protein interactions, which lead to the formation of extremely long and stable β-turn fibers. These non-amyloid fibers are present in the 10 μM concentration range, under the same solution conditions in which hIAPP forms amyloid fibers. We discuss the effect of peptide cyclization on both intra- and inter-protein interactions, and its possible implications for aggregation. Our findings indicate a potential role of N_loop-N_loop interactions in hIAPP aggregation, which has not previously been explored. Though our findings suggest that N_loop plays an important role in the pathway of amyloid formation, other naturally occurring IAPP variants that contain this structural feature are incapable of forming amyloids. For example, hIAPP readily forms amyloid ﬁbrils in vitro, whereas the rat variant (rIAPP), differing by six amino acids, does not. In addition to being highly soluble, rIAPP is an effective inhibitor of hIAPP ﬁbril formation . Both of these properties have been attributed to rIAPP's three proline residues: A25P, S28P and S29P. Single proline mutants of hIAPP have also been shown to kinetically inhibit hIAPP fibril formation. Because of their intrinsic dihedral angle preferences, prolines are expected to affect conformational ensembles of intrinsically disordered proteins. The specific effect of proline substitutions on IAPP structure and dynamics has not yet been explored, as the detection of such properties is experimentally challenging due to the low molecular weight, fast reconfiguration times, and very low solubility of IAPP peptides. High-resolution techniques able to measure tertiary contact formations are needed to address this issue. We employ a nanosecond laser spectroscopy technique to measure end-to-end contact formation rates in IAPP mutants. We explore the proline substitutions in IAPP and quantify their effects in terms of intrinsic chain stiffness. We find that the three proline mutations found in rIAPP increase chain stiffness. Interestingly, we also find that residue R18 plays an important role in rIAPP's unique chain stiffness and, together with the proline residues, is a determinant for its non-amyloidogenic properties. We discuss the implications of our findings on the role of prolines in IDPs.