Quercetin binding accelerates prion fibrillation into proteinase sensitive and loosely structured amyloids (Yu et al, 2022)

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Quercetin binding accelerates prion fibrillation into proteinase sensitive and loosely structured amyloids
Kun-Hua Yu, Cheng-Ping Jheng, Cheng-I Lee

Amyloidoses are caused by the deposition of amyloid fibrils ascribed to protein misfolding. In this study, we examined the antiamyloidogenic and antioxidative activities of quercetin, a plant flavonol from the flavonoid group of polyphenols, on mouse prion protein (moPrP) with biophysical approaches.

As the results show, quercetin binds to the C-terminal region of moPrP, and quercetin binding does not affect the structure of moPrP. However, quercetin binding accelerates moPrP fibrillation and changes the structure of moPrP fibrils. Unlike typical prion fibrils, quercetin-bound fibrils are sensitive to proteinase K and are loosely structured. Moreover, due to high antioxidant activity of flavonoid, quercetin-bound fibrils lack imbalance of free radicals and, therefore, they are nontoxic towards neuroblastoma cells.

The quercetin shows its uniqueness from typical antiamyloidogenic drugs which either suppress the development of amyloid or eliminate formed amyloids. Quercetin binding converts moPrP into protease-sensitive and non-cytotoxic fibrils. This work provides a powerful resolution in the advancement of antiamyloidogenic treatment.

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