Structural studies of microbubbles and molecular chaperones using transmission electron microscopy
Sammanfattning: Ultrasound contrast agents (CAs) are typically used in clinic for perfusion studies (blood flow through a specific region) and border delineating (differentiate borders between tissue structures) during cardiac imaging. The CAs used during ultrasound imaging usually consist of gas filled microbubbles (MBs) (diameter 1-5 μm) that are injected intravenously into the circulatory system. This thesis partially involves a novel polymer-shelled ultrasound CA that consists of air filled MBs stabilized by a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) shell. These MBs could be coupled with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) in order to serve as a combined CA for ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. The first three papers (Paper A-C) in this thesis investigate the structural characteristic and the elimination process of the CA.In Paper A, two types (PVA Type A and PVA Type B) of the novel CA were analyzed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of thin sectioned MBs. The images demonstrated that the SPIONs were either attached to the PVA shell surface (PVA Type A) or embedded in the shell (PVA Type B). The average shell thickness of the MBs was determined in Paper B by introducing a model that calculated the shell thickness from TEM images of cross-sectioned MBs. The shell thickness of PVA Type A was determined to 651 nm, whereas the shell thickness of PVA Type B was calculated to 637 nm. In Paper C, a prolonged blood elimination time was obtained for PVA-shelled MBs compared to the lipid-shelled CA SonoVue used in clinic. In addition, TEM analyzed tissue sections showed that the PVA-shelled MBs were recognized by the macrophage system. However, structurally intact MBs were still found in the circulation 24 h post injection. These studies illustrate that the PVA-shelled MBs are stable and offer large chemical variability, which make them suitable as CA for multimodal imaging.This thesis also involves studies (Paper D-E) of the molecular chaperones (Hsp21 and DNAJB6). The small heat shock protein Hsp21 effectively protects other proteins from unfolding and aggregation during stress. This chaperone ability requires oligomerization of the protein. In Paper D, cryo-electron microscopy together with complementary structural methods, obtained a structure model which showed that the Hsp21 dodecamer (12-mer) is kept together by paired C-terminal interactions.The human protein DNAJB6 functions as a very efficient suppressor of polyglutamine (polyQ) and amyloid-β42 (Aβ42) aggregation. Aggregation of these peptides are associated with development of Huntington’s (polyQ) and Alzheimer’s (Aβ42) disease. In Paper E, a reconstructed map of this highly dynamic protein is presented, showing an oligomer with two-fold symmetry, indicating that the oligomers are assembled by two subunits.
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