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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Oct;1804(10):2025-35. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2010.06.023. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

An Aß concatemer with altered aggregation propensities.

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Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO), Center for insoluble Protein Structures (inSPIN), Department of Molecular Biology, University of Aarhus, Gustav Wieds Vej 10C, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


We present an analysis of the conformational and aggregative properties of an Aß concatemer (Con-Alz) of interest for vaccine development against Alzheimer's disease. Con-Alz consists of 3 copies of the 43 residues of the Aß peptide separated by the P2 and P30 T-cell epitopes from the tetanus toxin. Even in the presence of high concentrations of denaturants or fluorinated alcohols, Con-Alz has a very high propensity to form aggregates which slowly coalesce over time with changes in secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure. Only micellar concentrations of SDS were able to inhibit aggregation. The increase in the ability to bind the fibril-binding dye ThT increases without lag time, which is characteristic of relatively amorphous aggregates. Confirming this, electron microscopy reveals that Con-Alz adopts a morphology resembling truncated protofibrils after prolonged incubation, but it is unable to assemble into classical amyloid fibrils. Despite its high propensity to aggregate, Con-Alz does not show any significant ability to permeabilize vesicles, which for fibrillating proteins is taken to be a key factor in aggregate cytotoxicity and is attributed to oligomers formed at an early stage in the fibrillation process. Physically linking multiple copies of the Aß-peptide may thus sterically restrict Con-Alz against forming cytotoxic oligomers, forcing it instead to adopt a less well-organized assembly of intermeshed polypeptide chains.

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