Protein engineering as a strategy to avoid formation of amyloid fibrils

Virtudes Villegas, Jesús Zurdo, Vladimir V. Filimonov, Francesc X. Avilés, Christopher M. Dobson, Luis Serrano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


The activation domain of human procarboxypeptidase A2 (ADA2h) aggregates following thermal or chemical denaturation at acidic pH. The aggregated material contains well-defined ordered structures with all the characteristics of the fibrils associated with amyloidotic diseases. Variants of ADA2h containing a series of mutations designed to increase the local stability of each of the two helical regions of the protein have been found to have a substantially reduced propensity to form fibrils. This arises from a reduced tendency of the denatured species to aggregate rather than from a change in the overall stability of the native state. The reduction in aggregation propensity may result from an increase in the stability of local relative to longer range interactions within the polypeptide chain. These findings show that the intrinsic ability of a protein to form amyloid can be altered substantially by protein engineering methods without perturbing significantly its overall stability or activity. This suggests new strategies for combating diseases associated with the formation of aggregated proteins and for the design of novel protein or peptide therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1700-1708
JournalProtein Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


  • ADA2h domain
  • Amyloid fibrils
  • Amyloid formation
  • Protein engineering
  • Protein misfolding
  • Secondary structure propensity


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