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Biochemistry. 2005 Apr 26;44(16):6003-14.

Abeta40-Lactam(D23/K28) models a conformation highly favorable for nucleation of amyloid.

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  • 1Departments of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Recent solid-state NMR data (1) demonstrate that Abeta(1)(-)(40) adopts a conformation in amyloid fibrils with two in-register, parallel beta-sheets, connected by a bend structure encompassing residues D(23)VGSNKG(29), with a close contact between the side chains of Asp23 and Lys28. We hypothesized that forming this bend structure might be rate-limiting in fibril formation, as indicated by the lag period typically observed in the kinetics of Abeta(1)(-)(40) fibrillogenesis. We synthesized Abeta(1)(-)(40)-Lactam(D23/K28), a congener Abeta(1)(-)(40) peptide that contains a lactam bridge between the side chains of Asp23 and Lys28. Abeta(1)(-)(40)-Lactam(D23/K28) forms fibrils similar to those formed by Abeta(1)(-)(40). The kinetics of fibrillogenesis, however, occur without the typical lag period, and at a rate approximately 1000-fold greater than is seen with Abeta(1)(-)(40) fibrillogenesis. The strong tendency toward self-association is also shown by size exclusion chromatography in which Abeta(1)(-)(40)-Lactam(D23/K28) forms oligomers even at concentrations of approximately 1-5 microM. Under the same conditions, Abeta(1)(-)(40) shows no detectable oligomers by size exclusion chromatography. Our data suggest that Abeta(1)(-)(40)-Lactam(D23/K28) could bypass an unfavorable folding step in fibrillogenesis, because the lactam linkage "preforms" a bendlike structure in the peptide. Consistent with this view Abeta(1)(-)(40) growth is efficiently nucleated by Abeta(1)(-)(40)-Lactam(D23/K28) fibril seeds.

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