Systemic amyloidosis is defined as a protein misfolding disease in which the amyloid is not necessarily deposited within the same organ that produces the fibril precursor protein. There are different types of systemic amyloidosis, depending on the protein constructing the fibrils. This review will focus on recent advances made in the understanding of the structural basis of three major forms of systemic amyloidosis: systemic AA, AL and ATTR amyloidosis. The three diseases arise from the misfolding of serum amyloid A protein, immunoglobulin light chains or transthyretin. The presented advances in understanding were enabled by recent progress in the methodology available to study amyloid structures and protein misfolding, in particular concerning cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. An important observation made with these techniques is that the structures of previously described in vitro formed amyloid fibrils did not correlate with the structures of amyloid fibrils extracted from diseased tissue, and that in vitro fibrils were typically more protease sensitive. It is thus possible that ex vivo fibrils were selected in vivo by their proteolytic stability.

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