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Keywords:

  • protein aggregation;
  • serpins;
  • serpinopathies;
  • serpin polymerization;
  • FTIR

Abstract

The polymerization of serpins is at the root of a large class of diseases; the molecular structure of serpin polymers has been recently debated. In this work, we study the polymerization kinetics of human neuroserpin by Fourier Transform Infra Red spectroscopy and by time-lapse Size Exclusion Chromatography. First, we show that two distinct neuroserpin polymers, formed at 45 and 85°C, display the same isosbestic points in the Amide I′ band, and therefore share common secondary structure features. We also find a concentration independent polymerization rate at 45°C suggesting that the polymerization rate-limiting step is the formation of an activated monomeric species. The polymer structures are consistent with a model that predicts the bare insertion of portions of the reactive center loop into the A β-sheet of neighboring serpin molecule, although with different extents at 45 and 85°C. Proteins 2012; © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.