Amyloid fibril formation is associated with a range of neurodegenerative diseases in humans, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prion diseases. In yeast, amyloid underlies several non-Mendelian phenotypes referred to as yeast prions. Mechanism of amyloid formation is critical for a complete understanding of the yeast prion phenomenon and human amyloid-related diseases. Ure2 protein is the basis of yeast prion [URE3]. The Ure2p prion domain is largely disordered. Residual structures, if any, in the disordered region may play an important role in the aggregation process. Studies of Ure2p prion domain are complicated by its high aggregation propensity, which results in a mixture of monomer and aggregates in solution. Previously we have developed a solid-support electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) approach to address this problem and have identified a structured state for the Alzheimer's amyloid-beta monomer. Here we use solid-support EPR to study the structure of Ure2p prion domain. EPR spectra of Ure2p prion domain with spin labels at every fifth residue from position 10 to position 75 show similar residue mobility profile for denaturing and native buffers after accounting for the effect of solution viscosity. These results suggest that Ure2p prion domain adopts a completely disordered structure in the native buffer. A completely disordered Ure2p prion domain implies that the amyloid formation of Ure2p, and likely other Q/N-rich yeast prion proteins, is primarily driven by inter-molecular interactions.
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