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Structure of Alzheimer's disease amyloid precursor protein copper‐binding domain at atomic resolution

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Amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, as its cleavage generates the Aβ peptide that is toxic to cells. APP is able to bind Cu2+ and reduce it to Cu+ through its copper‐binding domain (CuBD). The interaction between Cu2+ and APP leads to a decrease in Aβ production and to alleviation of the symptoms of the disease in mouse models. Structural studies of CuBD have been undertaken in order to better understand the mechanism behind the process. Here, the crystal structure of CuBD in the metal‐free form determined to ultrahigh resolution (0.85 Å) is reported. The structure shows that the copper‐binding residues of CuBD are rather rigid but that Met170, which is thought to be the electron source for Cu2+ reduction, adopts two different side‐chain conformations. These observations shed light on the copper‐binding and redox mechanisms of CuBD. The structure of CuBD at atomic resolution provides an accurate framework for structure‐based design of molecules that will deplete Aβ production.
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Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; amyloid precursor protein; copper protein; ultrahigh resolution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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