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Langmuir. 2008 Jul 15;24(14):7068-71. doi: 10.1021/la800907c. Epub 2008 Jun 13.

Microfluidic self-assembly of insulin monomers into amyloid fibrils on a solid surface.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Department of Bio and Brain Engineering, KAIST, 335 Gwahangno, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


We report the self-assembly of insulin monomers into amyloid fibrils within microchannels. To demonstrate the microfluidic amyloid formation and fibril growth on a solid surface, we seeded the internal surfaces of the microchannels with insulin monomers via N-hydroxysuccinimide ester activation and continuously flushed a fresh insulin solution through the microchannels. According to our analysis using optical and fluorescence microscopy, insulin amyloid preferentially formed in the center of the microchannels and, after reaching a certain density, spread to the side walls of the microchannels. By using ex situ atomic force microscopy, we observed the growth of amyloid fibrils inside the microchannels, which occurred at a much higher rate than that in bulk systems. After 12 h of incubation, insulin formed amyloid spherulites having "Maltese cross" extinction patterns within the microchannels according to the polarized microscopic analysis. Microfluidic amyloid formation enabled low consumption of reagents, reduction of incubation time, and simultaneous observation of amyloid formation under different conditions. This work will contribute to the rapid analysis of amyloid formation associated with many protein misfolding diseases.

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