Nat Commun 12 (1) 7141 [2021-12-08; online 2021-12-08]
Amyloid transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of ATTR fibrils in multiple organs. However, the structure of ATTR fibrils from the eye is poorly understood. Here, we used cryo-EM to structurally characterize vitreous body ATTR fibrils. These structures were distinct from previously characterized heart fibrils, even though both have the same mutation and type A pathology. Differences were observed at several structural levels: in both the number and arrangement of protofilaments, and the conformation of the protein fibril in each layer of protofilaments. Thus, our results show that ATTR protein structure and its assembly into protofilaments in the type A fibrils can vary between patients carrying the same mutation. By analyzing and matching the interfaces between the amino acids in the ATTR fibril with those in the natively folded TTR, we are able to propose a mechanism for the structural conversion of TTR into a fibrillar form.