Mapping the core of the β2-microglobulin amyloid fibril by H/D exchange
Despite numerous efforts, the lack of detailed structural information on amyloid fibrils has hindered clarification of the mechanism of their formation. Here, we describe a novel procedure for characterizing the conformational flexibility of 2-microglobulin amyloid fibrils at single-residue resolution that uses H/D exchange of amide protons combined with NMR analysis. The results indicate that most residues in the middle region of the molecule, including the loop regions in the native structure, form a rigid -sheet core, whereas the the N- and C-termini are excluded from this core. The extensively hydrogen-bonded -sheet core explains the remarkable rigidity and stability of amyloid fibrils. The present method could be used to obtain residue-specific conformational information of various amyloid fibrils, even though it does not provide a high resolution three-dimensional structure.