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J Mol Biol. 1992 Oct 20;227(4):1205-23.

Binding of the dye congo red to the amyloid protein pig insulin reveals a novel homology amongst amyloid-forming peptide sequences.

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MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.


The three-dimensional structure has been determined of a complex of the dye Congo Red, a specific stain for amyloid deposits, bound to the amyloid protein insulin. One dye molecule intercalates between two globular insulin molecules at an interface formed by a pair of anti-parallel beta-strands. This result, together with analysis of the primary sequences of other amyloidogenic proteins and peptides suggests that this mode of dye-binding to amyloid could be general. Moreover, the structure of this dye-binding interface between protein molecules provides an insight into the polymerization of amyloidogenic proteins into amyloid fibres. Thus the detailed characterization, at a resolution of 2.5 A, of the dye binding site in insulin could form a basis for the design of agents targeted against a variety of amyloid deposits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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