John F. Mc Kenney

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Prion propagation involves the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a disease-specific isomer, PrPSc, shifting from a predominantly alpha-helical to beta-sheet structure. Here, conditions were established in which recombinant human PrP could switch between the native alpha conformation, characteristic of PrPC, and a compact, highly soluble,(More)
Major constituents of the amyloid plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer's patients are the 39-43 residue beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides. Extensive in vitro as well as in vivo biochemical studies have shown that the 40- and 42-residue Abeta peptides play major roles in the neurodegenerative pathology of Alzheimer's disease. Although the two Abeta peptides(More)
Spidroins, the major silk proteins making up the spider's dragline silk, originate in two distinct tissue layers (A and B) in the spider's major ampullate gland. Formation of the complex thread from spidroins occurs in the lumen of the duct connected to the gland. Using pH-sensitive microelectrode probes, we showed that the spidroins traveling through the(More)
Metal ions have been shown to play a critical role in β-amyloid (Aβ) neurotoxicity, thus prompting an intense investigation into the formation of metal–Aβ complexes. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) has been widely used to determine binding constants (K) for a variety of metal–protein interactions, including those in metal–Aβ complexes. In this study,(More)
In spiders soluble proteins are converted to form insoluble silk fibres, stronger than steel. The final fibre product has long been the subject of study; however, little is known about the conversion process in the silk-producing gland of the spider. Here we describe a study of the conversion of the soluble form of the major spider-silk protein, spidroin,(More)
Negatively charged organochemical inactivators of the anti-proteolytic activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) convert it to inactive polymers. As investigated by native gel electrophoresis, the size of the PAI-1 polymers ranged from dimers to multimers of more than 20 units. As compared with native PAI-1, the polymers exhibited an increased(More)
The virus-like particles (VLPs) produced by the yeast Ty retrotransposons are structurally and functionally related to retroviral cores. Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction, we have examined the structures of VLPs assembled from full-length and truncated forms of the capsid structural protein. The VLPs are(More)
Fesselin is a heat stable proline-rich actin binding protein. The stability, amino acid composition, and ability to bind to several proteins suggested that fesselin may be unfolded under native conditions. While the complete sequence of fesselin is unknown an analysis of a closely related protein, synaptopodin 2 from Gallus gallus, indicates that fesselin(More)
Orb weaver spiders use exceptionally complex spinning processes to transform soluble silk proteins into solid fibers with specific functions and mechanical properties. In this study, to understand the nature of this transformation we investigated the structural changes of the soluble silk proteins from the major ampullate gland (web radial threads and(More)
It appears that fiber-forming proteins are not an exclusive group but that, with appropriate conditions, many proteins can potentially aggregate and form fibrils; though only certain proteins, for example, amyloids and silks, do so under normal physiological conditions. Even so, this suggests a ubiquitous aggregation mechanism in which the protein(More)