The crystal structure of Thioflavin-T (ThT) binding OspA mutant

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 1.75 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.274 
  • R-Value Work: 0.223 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.228 

Starting Model: experimental
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Molecular mechanism of thioflavin-T binding to the surface of beta-rich peptide self-assemblies

Biancalana, M.Makabe, K.Koide, A.Koide, S.

(2009) J Mol Biol 385: 1052-1063

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2008.11.006
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    A number of small organic molecules have been developed that bind to amyloid fibrils, a subset of which also inhibit fibrillization. Among these, the benzothiol dye Thioflavin-T (ThT) has been used for decades in the diagnosis of protein-misfolding diseases and in kinetic studies of self-assembly (fibrillization). Despite its importance, efforts to characterize the ThT-binding mechanism at the atomic level have been hampered by the inherent insolubility and heterogeneity of peptide self-assemblies. To overcome these challenges, we have developed a minimalist approach to designing a ThT-binding site in a "peptide self-assembly mimic" (PSAM) scaffold. PSAMs are engineered water-soluble proteins that mimic a segment of beta-rich peptide self-assembly, and they are amenable to standard biophysical techniques and systematic mutagenesis. The PSAM beta-sheet contains rows of repetitive amino acid patterns running perpendicular to the strands (cross-strand ladders) that represent a ubiquitous structural feature of fibril-like surfaces. We successfully designed a ThT-binding site that recapitulates the hallmarks of ThT-fibril interactions by constructing a cross-strand ladder consisting of contiguous tyrosines. The X-ray crystal structures suggest that ThT interacts with the beta-sheet by docking onto surfaces formed by a single tyrosine ladder, rather than in the space between adjacent ladders. Systematic mutagenesis further demonstrated that tyrosine surfaces across four or more beta-strands formed the minimal binding site for ThT. Our work thus provides structural insights into how this widely used dye recognizes a prominent subset of peptide self-assemblies, and proposes a strategy to elucidate the mechanisms of fibril-ligand interactions.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Chicago, 929 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
Outer Surface Protein A320Borreliella burgdorferiMutation(s): 0 
Find proteins for D0VWU8 (Borreliella burgdorferi)
Explore D0VWU8 
Go to UniProtKB:  D0VWU8
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupD0VWU8
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence
Small Molecules
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 1.75 Å
  • R-Value Free: 0.274 
  • R-Value Work: 0.223 
  • R-Value Observed: 0.228 
  • Space Group: P 1 21 1
Unit Cell:
Length ( Å )Angle ( ˚ )
a = 53.073α = 90
b = 35.876β = 105.85
c = 92.606γ = 90
Software Package:
Software NamePurpose
HKL-2000data collection
HKL-2000data reduction
HKL-2000data scaling

Structure Validation

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Entry History 

Deposition Data

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2009-02-03
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2011-07-13
    Changes: Advisory, Version format compliance
  • Version 1.2: 2023-08-30
    Changes: Data collection, Database references, Derived calculations, Refinement description