While amyloid infiltration of articular structures is rare, the 'shoulder-pad' sign resulting from periarticular soft tissue amyloid deposition is essentially pathognomonic for immunoglobin (Ig) (AL) amyloidosis. We report the characterization of an amyloid protein (GRA) which produced articular amyloid deposits and the shoulder-pad sign. Amyloid fibrils were isolated from soft tissue shoulder mass of a patient with systemic AL amyloidosis. The fibrils were solubilized in guanidine HCl and proteins separated by Sepharose chromatography. Amino acid sequence of fractionated protein was determined after tryptic digestion. Sequence analysis of the major amyloid protein yielded a kappa III Ig light chain structure. The entire variable region (VL) plus the constant region (CL) to residue 207 was identified; but lesser amounts of CL than VL were present. A number of amino acid residues previously not observed in kappa III VL proteins, plus a two amino acid insert (95A, 95B), were identified. Kappa III VL amyloid proteins are rare and may show an increased predilection for soft tissue deposition. While several unique amino acid residues that were identified in protein GRA may contribute to soft tissue amyloid deposition, no definite pattern is obvious from comparison with other reported kappa III amyloid proteins.
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