Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027906. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

The mechanism of enhanced insulin amyloid fibril formation by NaCl is better explained by a conformational change model.

Author information

Department of Biological Chemistry and Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America.


The high propensity of insulin to fibrillate causes severe biomedical and biotechnological complications. Insulin fibrillation studies attain significant importance considering the prevalence of diabetes and the requirement of functional insulin in each dose. Although studied since the early years of the 20(th) century, elucidation of the mechanism of insulin fibrillation has not been understood completely. We have previously, through several studies, shown that insulin hexamer dissociates into monomer that undergoes partial unfolding before converting into mature fibrils. In this study we have established that NaCl enhances insulin fibrillation mainly due to subtle structural changes and is not a mere salt effect. We have carried out studies both in the presence and absence of urea and Gdn.HCl and compared the relationship between conformation of insulin induced by urea and Gdn.HCl with respect to NaCl at both pH 7.4 (hexamer) and pH 2 (monomer). Fibril formation was followed with a Thioflavin T assay and structural changes were monitored by circular dichroism and size-exclusion chromatography. The results show salt-insulin interactions are difficult to classify as commonly accepted Debye-Hückel or Hofmeister series interactions but instead a strong correlation between the association states and conformational states of insulin and their propensity to fibrillate is evident.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center