Amyloid-enhancing factor mediates amyloid formation on fibroblasts via a nidus/template mechanism

Nadine Magy, Juris J. Liepnieks, Merrill D. Benson, Barbara Kluve-Beckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the mechanism by which amyloid-enhancing factor (AEF) promotes amyloid deposition, and to test whether AEF seeds deposition of serum amyloid A (SAA) and facilitates conversion to beta-sheet structure. Methods. Fibroblasts were cultured with mouse recombinant SAA1.1 and AEF, SAA1.1, or AEF. AEF was prepared as a glycerol extract of spleen from amyloidotic mice. Amyloid was identified by staining with Congo red and examining for green birefringence under polarized light. SAA was localized immunohisto-chemically. Texas Red-labeled SAA was visualized in living cultures by fluorescence confocal microscopy. AEF was characterized by Western blot analysis using anti-SAA antiserum and N-terminal sequence analysis. Subunits comprising amyloid in fibroblast cultures were characterized by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Results. Amyloid was produced in fibroblast cultures by an AEF-dependent mechanism. AEF, added to culture medium as insoluble protein precipitates, adhered to fibroblast monolayers. SAA bound preferentially to the adherent precipitates. Coincident with SAA binding, precipitates developed an affinity for Congo red. Over time, as more SAA was added, networks of Congo red-positive material producing bright green birefringence also developed outward from AEF precipitates. Amyloid built upon AEF in this manner was composed of full-length SAA. No amyloid was produced in cultures treated with either SAA or AEF alone. SAA and SAA peptides processed in the C-terminal region were the most prominent proteins in the glycerol-extracted AEF preparation. Conclusion. AEF binds to fibroblast monolayers and acts as a sink for SAA. SAA that collects on AEF assembles into an amyloid structure. Thus, it is concluded that AEF serves as both a nidus and a template for amyloid formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1437
Number of pages8
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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