Structural analysis of the amyloidogenic kappa Bence Jones protein (FUR).Amyloid. 1999 Jun; 6(2):77-88.A
Patients with systemic amyloidosis associated with multiple myeloma (AL-amyloidosis) exhibit immunoglobulin light chains and fragments which have been identified as amyloid protein. Since a relatively small proportion of patients with multiple myeloma develop AL-amyloidosis, comparison of the amino acid sequence of the amyloidogenic and non-amyloidogenic immunoglobulin light chains and the structural characterization of the amyloid proteins are required to understand the relationship between structure and amyloidogenicity. We determined the primary structure of a kappa I-type Bence Jones protein obtained from a patient (FUR) who had systemic AL-amyloidosis associated with multiple myeloma. We identified eight amino acid replacements unique to this patient among the amyloidogenic kappa I-light chains, and which are also rare among the known kappa type light chains of humans. Three of these substitutions were within the framework regions and may act to destabilize the structure to promote a putative amyloidogenic conformation. In contrast to light chain fragments in the urine, which were processed in the variable region, mass spectrometric analysis of the fibril proteins isolated from lingual amyloid deposits in this patient, revealed that they were all truncated within the constant region and corresponded to residues 1-125, 1-144, and 1-210. Inspection of the predicted three-dimensional model of this protein suggested that these fragments may be generated by a protease specific for the N-terminal sides of basic amino acids. These findings suggest that amino acid substitutions at highly conserved residues may convert non-amyloidogenic to amyloidogenic immunoglobulin light chain proteins.