Biochemical and biophysical characterisation of immunoglobulin free light chains derived from an initially unbiased population of patients wit h light chain disease

Rebecca Sternke-Hoffmann, Amelie Boquoi, David Lopez Y. Niedenhoff, Florian Platten, Roland Fenk, Rainer Haas, Alexander K. Buell*, Elena Papaleo (Editor)

*Corresponding author for this work

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In light chain (LC) diseases, monoclonal immunoglobulin LCs are abundantly produced with the consequence in some cases to form deposits of a fibrillar or amorphous nature affecting various organs, such as heart and kidney. The factors that determine the solubility of any given LC in vivo are still not well understood. We hypothesize that some of the biochemical properties of the LCs that have been shown to correlate with amyloid fibril formation in patients also can be used as predictors for the degree of kidney damage in a patient group that is only biased by protein availability. We performed detailed biochemical and biophysical investigations of light chains extracted and purified from the urine of a group of 20 patients with light chain disease. For all samples that contained a sufficiently high concentration of LC, we quantified the unfolding temperature of the LCs, the monomer-dimer distribution, the digestibility by trypsin and the formation of amyloid fibrils under various conditions of pH and reducing agent. We correlated the results of our biophysical and biochemical experiments with the degree of kidney damage in the patient group and found that most of these parameters do not correlate with kidney damage as defined by clinical parameters. However, the patients with the greatest impairment of kidney function have light chains which display very poor digestibility by trypsin. Most of the LC properties reported before to be predictors of amyloid formation cannot be used to assess the degree of kidney damage. Our finding that poor trypsin digestibility correlates with kidney damage warrants further investigation in order to probe a putative mechanistic link between these factors.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8771
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Amyloid fibril
  • Immunoglobulin light chain
  • Kidney
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Aggregation

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