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See detailNanobodies as structural probes to investigate the mechanism of fibril formation by the amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme
Dumont, Janice ULg; pardon, Els; Aumont-Nicaise, Magali et al

Poster (2012, June)

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutatants I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutants F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidosis. These ... [more ▼]

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutatants I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutants F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidosis. These proteins form extracellular amyloid fibrils that deposit in a wide range of tissues and organs such as liver, spleen and kidneys where they cause damages [1]. It was shown that the D67H and I56T mutations cause a loss in stability and more particularly a loss of global cooperativity of protein [1]. Consequently, under physiologically relevant conditions, these variants can transiently populate a partially unfolded state in which the beta-domain and the C-helix are cooperatively unfolded while the rest of the protein remains native like [1]. The formation of intermolecular interactions between the regions that are unfolded in this intermediate state is likely to be a fundamental trigger of the aggregation process that ultimately leads to the formation and deposition of fibrils in tissues. We have also shown that the binding of three variable domain of camelid antibodies (VHHs) - raised against the wild type human lysozyme inhibit in vitro the formation of amyloid fibrils by the lysozyme variants. These three VHHs bind on different regions of lysozyme and act as amyloid fibril inhibitor through different mechanisms [2, 3, and unpublished results]. In the present work, sixteen new VHHs specific of human lysozyme have been generated. Competition experiments have shown that they bind to five non-overlapping epitopes. We have demonstrated that five of these VHHs are able to bind lysozyme in conditions used for amyloid fibril formation, and interestingly two of them recognize two epitopes that are different from those of the three VHHs previously characterized [2, 3, and unpublished results]. The effects of these new VHHs on the properties of lysozyme variants such as stability, cooperativity and aggregation will be discussed. [1] Dumoulin, M., J.R. Kumita, and C.M. Dobson, Normal and aberrant biological self-assembly: Insights from studies of human lysozyme and its amyloidogenic variants. Acc Chem Res, 2006, 39(9), 603-610. [2] Dumoulin, M., et al., A camelid antibody fragment inhibits the formation of amyloid fibrils by human lysozyme. Nature, 2003, 424, 783-788. [3] Chan, P.H., et al., Engineering a camelid antibody fragment that binds to the active site of human lysozyme and inhibits its conversion into amyloid fibrils. Biochemistry, 2008, 47, 11041-11054. [less ▲]

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See detailVHHs as structural probes to investigate the mechanis of fibril formation by the amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme
Dumont, Janice; Kumita, Janet; Menzer, Linda et al

Scientific conference (2011, August 26)

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See detailVHHs as model proteins to investigate amyloid fibril formation: effect of seeding and cross-seeding on the stability of fibrils
Chavignon, Chloé ULg; Pardon, Els; Wyns, Lode et al

Poster (2011, August)

The term "amyloidosis" covers a group of diseases associated with the deposition of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils in different organs. About forty amyloidoses are known so far, amongst ... [more ▼]

The term "amyloidosis" covers a group of diseases associated with the deposition of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils in different organs. About forty amyloidoses are known so far, amongst which Alzheimer's disease, type II diabetes and immunoglobulin amyloidosis [1]. Although the mechanism of amyloid fibril formation at the molecular level is not yet completely understood, it has been shown that the capacity to form amyloid fibrils in vitro is an intrinsic property of all polypeptide chains [1]. The choice of model proteins to investigate the aggregation process in vitro is therefore not restrained to proteins involved in amyloidoses but can be settled on a wide variety of proteins. In this study, we have chosen to investigate the mechanism of amyloid fibril formation by two variable domains of camelid heavy-chain antibodies (referred to as VHHs or nanobodies), cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10, for which variants with mutations located at the disulfide bond [3,4] and the CDRs [3] are available. Characterisation of the aggregating properties of these mutants will allow the investigation of the impact of these structural elements on the process of fibril formation. In order to determine conditions in which cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10 are more susceptible to form amyloid fibrils, heat-induced unfolding experiments at several pHs have been monitored by intrinsic fluorescence and circular dichroism. Then, aggregation experiments have been performed in the selected conditions and the presence of amyloid fibrils has been acknowledged by thioflavineT fluorescence experiments and electron microscopy. We will discuss the kinetics of aggregation obtained in the absence and the presence of seeding/cross-seeding and the stability of the formed fibrils. [1] Chiti and Dobson, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 75, 2006, 333-366 ; [2] Dumoulin et al., Protein Sci., 11, 2002, 500-515 ; [3] Saerens et al., J. Mol. Biol., 352, 2005, 597-607 ; [4] Saerens et al., J. Mol. Biol., 377, 2008, 478-488. [less ▲]

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See detailNanobodies as structural probes to investigate the mechanism of fibril formation by the amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme
Dumont, Janice ULg; Pardon, Els; Aumont-Nicaise, Magalie et al

Poster (2011)

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidose. These ... [more ▼]

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidose. These proteins form extracellular amyloid fibrils that deposit in a wide range of tissues and organs such as liver, spleen and kidneys where they cause damages [1]. It was shown that the D67H and I56T mutations cause a loss in stability and more particularly a loss of global cooperativity of protein [1]. Consequently, under physiologically relevant conditions, these variants can transiently populate a partially unfolded state in which the beta-domain and the C-helix are cooperatively unfolded while the rest of the protein remains native like [1]. The formation of intermolecular interactions between the regions that are unfolded in this intermediate state is likely to be a fundamental trigger of the aggregation process that ultimately leads to the formation and deposition of fibrils in tissues. We have also shown that the binding of three variable domain of camelid antibodies or (VHHs) - raised against the wild type human lysozyme inhibit in vitro the formation of amyloid fibrils by the lysozyme variants. These three VHHs bind on different regions of lysozyme and act as amyloid fibrils inhibitor through different mechanisms [2, 3, and unpublished results]. In the present work, sixteen new VHHs specific of human lysozyme have been generated. Competition experiments have shown that they bind to five non overlapping epitopes. We have demonstrated that five of these new VHHs are able to bind lysozyme in conditions used for amyloid fibril formation, and interestingly two of them recognize two epitopes that are different from those of the three VHHs previously characterized [2, 3, and unpublished results]. The effects of these new VHHs on the properties of lysozyme variants such as activity, stability, cooperativity and aggregation will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailVHHs as model proteins to investigate amyloid fibril formation: effect of seeding and cross-seeding on aggregation kinetics and stability of fibrils
Chavignon, Chloé ULg; Dumoulin, Mireille ULg; Pardon, Els et al

Poster (2010, October)

The term "amyloidosis" covers a group of diseases associated with the deposition of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils in different organs. About forty amyloidosis are known so far, amongst ... [more ▼]

The term "amyloidosis" covers a group of diseases associated with the deposition of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils in different organs. About forty amyloidosis are known so far, amongst which Alzheimer's disease, type II diabetes and immunoglobulin amyloidosis [1]. Although the mechanism of amyloid fibrils formation at the molecular level is not yet completely understood, it has been shown that the capacity to form amyloid fibrils in vitro is an intrinsic property of all polypeptide chains [1]. The choice of model proteins to investigate the aggregation process in vitro is therefore no more restrained to proteins involved in amyloidosis but can be settled on a wide variety of proteins. In this study, we have chosen to investigate the mechanism of amyloid fibrils formation by two variable domains of camelid heavy-chain antibodies (referred to as VHHs or nanobodies), cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10, and this choice was motivated by the following reasons: - First, VHHs are small monomeric proteins (~14 kDa) presenting a high stability and a high solubility [2], which permits their expression with a high yield (5-20 mg.L-1). - Second, a wide range of stable mutants of these two VHHs is available. Mutations located at the disulfide bond [3,4] and the CDRs [3] have been introduced. Characterisation of the aggregating properties of these mutants will allow the investigation of the impact of these structural elements on the process of fibril formation. In order to determine conditions in which cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10 are more susceptible to form intermediates and thus amyloid fibrils, heat-induced unfolding experiments at pHs comprised in a range from 2,5 to 9,5 have been monitored by intrinsic fluorescence, ANS binding and far-UV circular dichroism. Then, aggregation experiments have been performed in the selected conditions and the presence of amyloid fibrils has been observed by thioflavin T fluorescence experiments and electron microscopy. The kinetics of aggregation obtained in the absence and the presence of seeding/cross-seeding allowed to identify the regions of the protein which could be involved in the formation of fibrils. [1] Chiti and Dobson, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 75, 2006, 333-366. [2] Dumoulin et al., Protein Sci., 11, 2002, 500-515. [3] Saerens et al., J. Mol. Biol., 352, 2005, 597-607. [4] Saerens et al., J. Mol. Biol., 377, 2008, 478-488. [less ▲]

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See detailcAbVIM4, a nanobody inhibiting the metallo-β-lactamase VIM-4
Sohier, Jean ULg; Laurent, Clémentine ULg; Pardon, Els et al

Poster (2010)

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See detailCamelid single-domain antibody fragments as structural probes to study the mechanism of human lysozyme fibrils formation
Dumont, Janice ULg; Pardon, Els; Menzer, Linda ULg et al

Poster (2010)

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidosis. These ... [more ▼]

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidosis. These proteins form extracellular amyloid fibrils that deposit in a wide range of tissues and organs such as liver, spleen and kidneys where they cause damages [1]. It was shown that the D67H and I56T mutations cause a loss in stability and more particularly a loss of global cooperativity of protein [1]. Consequently, under physiologically relevant conditions, these variants can transiently populate a partially unfolded state in which the beta-domain and the C-helix are cooperatively unfolded while the rest of the protein remains native like [1]. The formation of intermolecular interactions between the regions that are unfolded in this intermediate state is likely to be a fundamental trigger of the aggregation process that ultimately leads to the formation and deposition of fibrils in tissues. The binding of three variable domain of camelid antibodies – also named nanobodies - (cAb-HuL 6 [2], cAb-HuL 5 and cAb-HuL 22 [3]) raised against the wild type human lysozyme inhibit in vitro the formation of amyloid fibrils by the lysozyme variants. These three nanobodies bind on different regions of lysozyme and act as amyloid fibrils inhibitor through different mechanisms. On one hand, cAb-HuL 6 and cAb-HuL 22 stabilize the native state of the lysozyme variants thus restoring the global cooperativity characteristic of the wild-type protein. On the other, cAb-HuL 5 probably acts by binding soluble prefibrillar aggregates. In the present work, sixteen other nanobodies specific of human lysozyme have been generated. Competition experiments have shown that they bind to five non overlapping epitopes. The effects of the binding of these nanobodies on the stability of the D67H variant of human lysozyme and on its aggregation into amyloid fibrils will be discussed. References [1] Dumoulin et al, (2006) Acc. Chem. Res, 39, 603-610. [2] Dumoulin et al, (2003) Nature, 424, 783-788. [3] Chan et al. (2008) Biochemistry, 47,11041-11054. [less ▲]

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See detailNanobodies as structural probes to investigate the mechanism of fibril formation by the amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme.
Dumont, Janice ULg; Menzer, Linda ULg; Pardon, Els et al

Poster (2010)

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidose. These ... [more ▼]

Six variants of human lysozyme (single-point mutations I56T, F57I, W64R, D67H and double mutations F57I/T70N, W112R/T70N) are associated with a hereditary non-neuropathic systemic amyloidose. These proteins form extracellular amyloid fibrils that deposit in a wide range of tissues and organs such as liver, spleen and kidneys where they cause damages [1]. It was shown that the D67H and I56T mutations cause a loss in stability and more particularly a loss of global cooperativity of protein [1]. Consequently, under physiologically relevant conditions, these variants can transiently populate a partially unfolded state in which the beta-domain and the C-helix are cooperatively unfolded while the rest of the protein remains native like [1]. The formation of intermolecular interactions between the regions that are unfolded in this intermediate state is likely to be a fundamental trigger of the aggregation process that ultimately leads to the formation and deposition of fibrils in tissues. The binding of three variable domain of camelid antibodies – also named nanobodies - (cAb-HuL 6 [2], cAb-HuL 5 and cAb-HuL 22 [3]) raised against the wild type human lysozyme inhibit in vitro the formation of amyloid fibrils by the lysozyme variants. These three nanobodies bind on different regions of lysozyme and act as Amyloid fibrils inhibitor through different mechanisms. On one hand, cAb-HuL 6 and cAb-HuL 22 stabilize the native state of the lysozyme variants thus restoring the global cooperativity characteristic of the wild-type protein. On the other, cAb-HuL 5 probably acts by binding soluble prefibrillar aggregates. In the present work, sixteen other nanobodies specific of human lysozyme have been generated. Competition experiments have shown that they bind to five non overlapping epitopes. The effects of the binding of these nanobodies on the stability of the D67H variant of human lysozyme and on its aggregation into amyloid fibrils will be discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailStructure and properties of a complex of alpha-synuclein and a single-domain camelid antibody.
De Genst, Erwin J; Guilliams, Tim; Wellens, Joke et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2010), 402(2), 326-43

The aggregation of the intrinsically disordered protein alpha-synuclein to form fibrillar amyloid structures is intimately associated with a variety of neurological disorders, most notably Parkinson's ... [more ▼]

The aggregation of the intrinsically disordered protein alpha-synuclein to form fibrillar amyloid structures is intimately associated with a variety of neurological disorders, most notably Parkinson's disease. The molecular mechanism of alpha-synuclein aggregation and toxicity is not yet understood in any detail, not least because of the paucity of structural probes through which to study the behavior of such a disordered system. Here, we describe an investigation involving a single-domain camelid antibody, NbSyn2, selected by phage display techniques to bind to alpha-synuclein, including the exploration of its effects on the in vitro aggregation of the protein under a variety of conditions. We show using isothermal calorimetric methods that NbSyn2 binds specifically to monomeric alpha-synuclein with nanomolar affinity and by means of NMR spectroscopy that it interacts with the four C-terminal residues of the protein. This latter finding is confirmed by the determination of a crystal structure of NbSyn2 bound to a peptide encompassing the nine C-terminal residues of alpha-synuclein. The NbSyn2:alpha-synuclein interaction is mediated mainly by side-chain interactions while water molecules cross-link the main-chain atoms of alpha-synuclein to atoms of NbSyn2, a feature we believe could be important in intrinsically disordered protein interactions more generally. The aggregation behavior of alpha-synuclein at physiological pH, including the morphology of the resulting fibrillar structures, is remarkably unaffected by the presence of NbSyn2 and indeed we show that NbSyn2 binds strongly to the aggregated as well as to the soluble forms of alpha-synuclein. These results give strong support to the conjecture that the C-terminal region of the protein is not directly involved in the mechanism of aggregation and suggest that binding of NbSyn2 could be a useful probe for the identification of alpha-synuclein aggregation in vitro and possibly in vivo. [less ▲]

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See detailVHHs as model proteins to investigate amyloid fibril formation
Chavignon, Chloé ULg; Pardon, Els; Wyns, Lode et al

Poster (2009, July)

The term "amyloidosis" covers up a group of diseases associated with deposition in different organs of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils. About twenty-five amyloidosis are known so far ... [more ▼]

The term "amyloidosis" covers up a group of diseases associated with deposition in different organs of protein aggregates organized into amyloid fibrils. About twenty-five amyloidosis are known so far, amongst which Alzheimer's disease, type II diabetes and immunoglobulin amyloidosis [1]. Although the mechanism of amyloid fibrils formation at the molecular level is not yet completely understood, it has been shown that the capacity to form amyloid fibrils in vitro is an intrinsic property of all polypeptide chains [1]. The choice of model proteins to investigate the aggregation process in vitro is therefore no more restrained to proteins involved in amyloidosis but can be settled on a wide variety of proteins. In this study, we have chosen two variable domains of camelid heavy-chain antibodies (referred to as VHHs or nanobodies), cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10, and this choice was motivated by the following reasons: - First, they are small monomeric domains (~14 kDa) presenting high stability and high solubility [2], which permits their expression with a high yield (20-40 mg.L-1). - Second, a wide range of stable mutants of these two VHHs is available. Mutations located at the disulfide bond [3,4], the CDRs [3] and the framework have been introduced. Characterisation of the aggregating properties of these mutants will allow the investigation of the impact of these structural elements on the process of fibril formation. In order to determine conditions in which cAb-HuL6 and cAb-BcII10 are more susceptible to form intermediates and thus amyloid fibrils, heat induced infolding experiments at pHs comprised in a range from 2,5 to 9,5 have been monitored by intrinsic fluorescence, ANS binding and circular dichroism. Then, aggregation experiments have been performed in the selected conditions and the presence of amyloid fibrils has been acknowledged by thioflavineT fluorescence experiments and electronic microscopy. [1] Chiti, F. and Dobson, C. M., Protein misfolding, functional amyloid, and human disease, Annu. Rev. Biochem., 75, 2006, 333-366. [2] Dumoulin, M., Conrath, K., Van Meirhaeghe, A., Meersman, F., Heremans, K., Frenken, L. G., Muyldermans, S., Wyns, L. & Matagne, A., Single-domain antibody fragments with high conformational stability, Protein Sci., 11, 2002, 500-515. [3] Saerens, D., Pellis, M., Loris, R., Pardon, E., Dumoulin, M., Matagne, A., Wyns, L., Muyldermans, S., Conrath, K., Identification of a universal VHH framework to graft non-canonical antigen-binding loops of camel single-domain antibodies, J. Mol. Biol., 352, 2005, 597-607. [4] Saerens D., Conrath K., Govaert J., Muyldermans S., Disulfide bond introduction for general stabilization of immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable domains, J Mol Biol., 377, 2008, 478-488. [less ▲]

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See detail(1)H, (13)C and (15)N assignments of a camelid nanobody directed against human alpha-synuclein.
Vuchelen, Anneleen; O'Day, Elizabeth; De Genst, Erwin et al

in Biomolecular NMR Assignments (2009), 3(2), 231-3

Nanobodies are single chain antibodies that are uniquely produced in Camelidae, e.g. camels and llamas. They have the desirable features of small sizes (Mw < 14 kDa) and high affinities against antigens ... [more ▼]

Nanobodies are single chain antibodies that are uniquely produced in Camelidae, e.g. camels and llamas. They have the desirable features of small sizes (Mw < 14 kDa) and high affinities against antigens (Kd approximately nM), making them ideal as structural probes for biomedically relevant motifs both in vitro and in vivo. We have previously shown that nanobody binding to amyloidogenic human lysozyme variants can effectively inhibit their aggregation, the process that is at the origin of systemic amyloid disease. Here we report the NMR assignments of a new nanobody, termed NbSyn2, which recognises the C-terminus of the intrinsically disordered protein, human alpha-synuclein (aS), whose aberrant self-association is implicated in Parkinson's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailKinetics and Thermodynamics of Glucose Isomerase Crystallization
Sleutel, Mike; Willaert, Ronnie; Gillespie, Christopher et al

in Crystal Growth & Design (2009), 9

A quantitative study using laser confocal microscopy combined with differential interference microscopy on the kinetics and thermodynamics of the crystallization of glucose isomerase is presented ... [more ▼]

A quantitative study using laser confocal microscopy combined with differential interference microscopy on the kinetics and thermodynamics of the crystallization of glucose isomerase is presented. Fundamental crystallization parameters are determined from the kinetics of step advancement and rates of two-dimensional (2D) nucleation. The ruling mass transfer pathway and accompanying activation barriers are discussed. In brief, the solubility exhibits normal temperature dependence and the crystallization enthalpy is the thermodynamic driving force. The diminishing entropic cost for higher PEG concentrations is attributed to water structuring and a decrease in water activity. The prominent step generation mechanism is homogeneous 2D nucleation for high supersaturations. At low driving forces 2D nucleation occurs on anomalously hyperactive sites and the step edge free energies for homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation are determined. The number of nucleation centers for both mechanisms are estimated and from the density of nucleation centers we obtain for the activation barrier of adsorption ∼3.8 kJ mol-1. No step-step interaction is observed for interstep distances >70 nm. Theoretical fits of step velocity data suggest surface diffusion makes a non-negligible contribution to surface kinetics. From the temperature dependence of the step kinetic coefficient the activation barrier for crystallization was determined to be <22.4 kJ mol-1. [less ▲]

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See detailEngineering a camelid antibody fragment that binds to the active site of human lysozyme and inhibits its conversion into amyloid fibrils
Chan, Pak Ho; Pardon, Els; Menzer, Linda ULg et al

in Biochemistry (2008), 47

single-domain fragment, cAb-HuL22, of a camelid heavy-chain antibody specific for the active site of human lysozyme has been generated, and its effects on the properties of the I56T and D67H amyloidogenic ... [more ▼]

single-domain fragment, cAb-HuL22, of a camelid heavy-chain antibody specific for the active site of human lysozyme has been generated, and its effects on the properties of the I56T and D67H amyloidogenic variants of human lysozyme, which are associated with a form of systemic amyloidosis, have been investigated by a wide range of biophysical techniques. Pulse-labeling hydrogen-deuterium exchange experiments monitored by mass spectrometry reveal that binding of the antibody fragment strongly inhibits the locally cooperative unfolding of the I56T and D67H variants and restores their global cooperativity to that characteristic of the wild-type protein. The antibody fragment was, however, not stable enough under the conditions used to explore its ability to perturb the aggregation behavior of the lysozyme amyloidogenic variants. We therefore engineered a more stable version of cAb-HuL22 by adding a disulfide bridge between the two beta-sheets in the hydrophobic core of the protein. The binding of this engineered antibody fragment to the amyloidogenic variants of lysozyme inhibited their aggregation into fibrils. These findings support the premise that the reduction in global cooperativity caused by the pathogenic mutations in the lysozyme gene is the determining feature underlying their amyloidogenicity. These observations indicate further that molecular targeting of enzyme active sites, and of protein binding sites in general, is an effective strategy for inhibiting or preventing the aberrant self-assembly process that is often a consequence of protein mutation and the origin of pathogenicity. Moreover, this work further demonstrates the unique properties of camelid single-domain antibody fragments as structural probes for studying the mechanism of aggregation and as potential inhibitors of fibril formation. [less ▲]

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See detailCounterdiffusion protein crystallisation in microgravity and its observation with PromISS (Protein Microscope for the International Space Station)
Zegers, Ingrid; Carotenuto, Luigi; Evrard, Christine ULg et al

in Microgravity Science and Technology (2006), XVIII

The crystallisation by counterdiffusion is a very efficient technique for obtaining high-quality protein crystals. A prerequisite for the use of counterdiffusion techniques is that mass transport must be ... [more ▼]

The crystallisation by counterdiffusion is a very efficient technique for obtaining high-quality protein crystals. A prerequisite for the use of counterdiffusion techniques is that mass transport must be controlled by diffusion alone. Sedimentation and convection can be avoided by either working in gelled systems, working in systems of small dimensions, or in the absence of gravity. We present the results from experiments performed on the ISS using the Protein Microscope for the International Space Station (PromISS), using digital holography to visualise crystal growth processes. We extensively characterised three model proteins for these experiments (cablys3*lysozyme, triose phosphate isomerase, and parvalbumin) and used these to assess the ISS as an environment for crystallisation by counterdiffusion. The possibility to visualise growth and movement of crystals in different types of experiments (capillary counterdiffusion and batch-type) is important, as movement of crystals is clearly not negligible. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced global copperativity is a common feature underlying the amyloidogenicity of pathogenic lysozyme mutations
Dumoulin, Mireille ULg; Canet, Denis; Last, Alexander M. et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2005), 346(3), 773-788

One of the 20 or so human amyloid diseases is associated with the deposition in vital organs of full-length mutational variants of the antibacterial protein lysozyme. Here, we report experimental data ... [more ▼]

One of the 20 or so human amyloid diseases is associated with the deposition in vital organs of full-length mutational variants of the antibacterial protein lysozyme. Here, we report experimental data that permit a detailed comparison to be made of the behaviour of two of these amyloidogenic variants, I56T and D67H, under identical conditions. Hydrogen/deuterium exchange experiments monitored by NMR and mass spectrometry reveal that, despite their different locations and the different effects of the two mutations on the structure of the native state of lysozyme, both mutations cause a cooperative destabilisation of a remarkably similar segment of the structure, comprising in both cases the beta-domain and the adjacent C-helix. As a result, both variant proteins populate transiently a closely similar, partially unstructured intermediate in which the beta-domain and the adjacent C-helix are substantially and simultaneously unfolded, whereas the three remaining a-helices that form the core of the a-domain still have their native-like structure. We show, in addition, that the binding of a camel antibody fragment, cAb-HuL6, which was raised against wild-type lysozyme, restores to both variant proteins the stability and cooperativity characteristic of the wild-type protein; as a consequence, it inhibits the formation of amyloid fibrils by both variants. These results indicate that the reduction in global cooperativity, an associated ability to populate transiently a specific, partly unfolded intermediate state under physiologically relevant conditions, is a common feature underlying the behaviour of these two pathogenic mutations. The formation of intermolecular interactions between lysozyme molecules that are in this partially unfolded state is therefore likely to be the fundamental trigger of the aggregation process that ultimately leads to the formation and deposition in tissue of amyloid fibrils. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of a universal VHH framework to graft non-canonical antigen-binding loops of camel single-domain antibodies
Saerens, Dirk; Pellis, Mireille; Loris, Remy et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2005), 352

Camel single-domain antibody fragments (VHHs) are promising tools in numerous biotechnological and medical applications. However, some conditions under which antibodies are used are so demanding that they ... [more ▼]

Camel single-domain antibody fragments (VHHs) are promising tools in numerous biotechnological and medical applications. However, some conditions under which antibodies are used are so demanding that they can be met by only the most robust VHHs. A universal framework offering the required properties for use in various applications (e.g. as intrabody, as probe in biosensors or on micro-arrays) is highly valuable and might be further implemented when employment of VHHs in human therapy is envisaged. We identified the VHH framework of cAbBCII10 as a potential candidate, useful for the exchange of antigen specificities by complementarity determining region (CDR) grafting. Due to the large number of CDRH loop structures present on VHHs, this grafting technique was expected to be rather unpredictable. Nonetheless, the plasticity of the cAbBCII10 framework allows successful transfer of antigen specificity from donor VHHs onto its scaffold. The cAbBCII10 was chosen essentially for its high level of stability (47 kJ/mol), good expression level (5 mg/l in E. coli) and its ability to be functional in the absence of the conserved disulfide bond. All five chimeras generated by grafting CDR-Hs, from donor VHHs belonging to subfamily 2 that encompass 75% of all antigen-specific VHHs, on the framework of cAbBCII10 were functional and generally had an increased thermodynamic stability. The grafting of CDR-H loops from VHHs belonging to other subfamilies resulted in chimeras of reduced antigen-binding capacity. [less ▲]

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See detailSingle-domain antibody fragments with high conformational stability.
Dumoulin, Mireille ULg; Conrath, Katja; Van Meirhaeghe, Annemie et al

in Protein Science : A Publication of the Protein Society (2002), 11(3), 500-15

A variety of techniques, including high-pressure unfolding monitored by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence, circular dichroism, and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, have been ... [more ▼]

A variety of techniques, including high-pressure unfolding monitored by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, fluorescence, circular dichroism, and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy, have been used to investigate the equilibrium folding properties of six single-domain antigen binders derived from camelid heavy-chain antibodies with specificities for lysozymes, beta-lactamases, and a dye (RR6). Various denaturing conditions (guanidinium chloride, urea, temperature, and pressure) provided complementary and independent methods for characterizing the stability and unfolding properties of the antibody fragments. With all binders, complete recovery of the biological activity after renaturation demonstrates that chemical-induced unfolding is fully reversible. Furthermore, denaturation experiments followed by optical spectroscopic methods and affinity measurements indicate that the antibody fragments are unfolded cooperatively in a single transition. Thus, unfolding/refolding equilibrium proceeds via a simple two-state mechanism (N <--> U), where only the native and the denatured states are significantly populated. Thermally-induced denaturation, however, is not completely reversible, and the partial loss of binding capacity might be due, at least in part, to incorrect refolding of the long loops (CDRs), which are responsible for antigen recognition. Most interestingly, all the fragments are rather resistant to heat-induced denaturation (apparent T(m) = 60-80 degrees C), and display high conformational stabilities (DeltaG(H(2)O) = 30-60 kJ mole(-1)). Such high thermodynamic stability has never been reported for any functional conventional antibody fragment, even when engineered antigen binders are considered. Hence, the reduced size, improved solubility, and higher stability of the camelid heavy-chain antibody fragments are of special interest for biotechnological and medical applications. [less ▲]

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