COE Study Abroad Project Report


Report on a trip to 2004 FASEB Summer Research Conferences
g Protein Misfolding, Amyloid and Conformational Diseasesh

Snowmass Village Conference Center, Colorado, USA

Aiko Kishimoto, COE researcher

Purpose of the trip
I have been studying the fiber structures formed by yeast prion Sup35. The purpose of this trip was to present our recent results and discuss with many people at the meeting to think about the direction of our future research. I also wanted to learn more about protein folding including those in amyloid fibrils and explore the world wide research trend in these fields.

Schedule of the trip
6/12-17 2004 FASEB Summer Reseach Conferences

Meeting report
This Conference was a definitive meet for researchers studying amyloid. I presented a poster on the structural analysis of yeast prion Sup35 fibers. The main point of my poster presentation was that our fiber diffraction strongly suggests that the structures of amyloid fibers formed by Sup35 fragments are ß-helix, not a stack of ß-sheets as many other groups in the field have reported to date. Ronald Wetzel (Tennessee Univ.) studied the proline mutants of Aß(1-40) and suggested that the core structure of Aß(1-40) fibers is not a stack of ß-sheets but a triangle form. The group of Robert Tycko (National Institutes of Health) reported interesting data, too. Aß(1-40) fibers formed in agitated or non-move condition showed differences in structural features. Agitated and non-move fibers were observed by TEM, and the differences in the appearance between these two types of fibers seemed to be the number of protofilaments, periodicity and so on. These fibers labeled with 13C were analyzed by NMR, and the 13C-13C distances were measured, and the distance between some residues was different in two mutants. Thus, different fiber structures formed under different physical conditions.

Perspective and future plans
Helen R. Saibil (Birkbeck College London) and Louise C. Serpell (Cambridge Univ.) observed long periodicities of fibril structures and showed that they are variable by using electron microscopy. But, the structure of the fibers were different under different physical or solution conditions. We have to analyze the fibers formed under various conditions, and collect more solid structural proofs that the core structure of the fiber is ß-helix.

Airplane view of the Rocky Mountains