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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Dec 5;97(25):13597-601.

Abeta amyloid fibrils possess a core structure highly resistant to hydrogen exchange.

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  • 1Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, TN 37920, USA.


We describe here experiments designed to characterize the secondary structure of amyloid fibrils of the Alzheimer's amyloid plaque peptide Abeta, using hydrogen-deuterium exchange measurements evaluated by mass spectrometry. The results show that approximately 50% of the amide protons of the polypeptide backbone of Abeta(1-40) resist exchange in aqueous, neutral pH buffer even after more than 1, 000 h of incubation at room temperature. We attribute this extensive, strong protection to H-bonding by residues in core regions of beta-sheet structure within the fibril. The backbone amide hydrogens exchange at variable rates, suggesting different degrees of protection within the fibril. These data suggest that it is unlikely that the entire Abeta sequence is involved in H-bonded secondary structure within the amyloid fibril. Future studies using the methods described here should reveal further details of Abeta fibril structure and assembly. These methods also should be amenable to studies of other amyloid fibrils and protein aggregates.

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