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Biochemistry. 2000 Nov 14;39(45):13748-59.

Amyloid fibril formation by A beta 16-22, a seven-residue fragment of the Alzheimer's beta-amyloid peptide, and structural characterization by solid state NMR.

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  • 1Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The seven-residue peptide N-acetyl-Lys-Leu-Val-Phe-Phe-Ala-Glu-NH(2), called A beta(16-22) and representing residues 16-22 of the full-length beta-amyloid peptide associated with Alzheimer's disease, is shown by electron microscopy to form highly ordered fibrils upon incubation of aqueous solutions. X-ray powder diffraction and optical birefringence measurements confirm that these are amyloid fibrils. The peptide conformation and supramolecular organization in A beta(16-22) fibrils are investigated by solid state (13)C NMR measurements. Two-dimensional magic-angle spinning (2D MAS) exchange and constant-time double-quantum-filtered dipolar recoupling (CTDQFD) measurements indicate a beta-strand conformation of the peptide backbone at the central phenylalanine. One-dimensional and two-dimensional spectra of selectively and uniformly labeled samples exhibit (13)C NMR line widths of <2 ppm, demonstrating that the peptide, including amino acid side chains, has a well-ordered conformation in the fibrils. Two-dimensional (13)C-(13)C chemical shift correlation spectroscopy permits a nearly complete assignment of backbone and side chain (13)C NMR signals and indicates that the beta-strand conformation extends across the entire hydrophobic segment from Leu17 through Ala21. (13)C multiple-quantum (MQ) NMR and (13)C/(15)N rotational echo double-resonance (REDOR) measurements indicate an antiparallel organization of beta-sheets in the A beta(16-22) fibrils. These results suggest that the degree of structural order at the molecular level in amyloid fibrils can approach that in peptide or protein crystals, suggest how the supramolecular organization of beta-sheets in amyloid fibrils can be dependent on the peptide sequence, and illustrate the utility of solid state NMR measurements as probes of the molecular structure of amyloid fibrils. A beta(16-22) is among the shortest fibril-forming fragments of full-length beta-amyloid reported to date, and hence serves as a useful model system for physical studies of amyloid fibril formation.

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