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Phys Biol. 2015 Dec 30;12(6):066021. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/12/6/066021.

Morphology and mechanical properties of multi-stranded amyloid fibrils probed by atomistic and coarse-grained simulations.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Korea. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Amyloid fibrils are responsible for pathogenesis of various diseases and exhibit the structural feature of an ordered, hierarchical structure such as multi-stranded helical structure. As the multi-strandedness of amyloid fibrils has recently been found to be highly correlated with their toxicity and infectivity, it is necessary to study how the hierarchical (i.e. multi-stranded) structure of amyloid fibril is formed. Moreover, although it has recently been reported that the nanomechanics of amyloid proteins plays a key role on the amyloid-induced pathogenesis, a critical role that the multi-stranded helical structure of the fibrils plays in their nanomechanical properties has not fully characterized. In this work, we characterize the morphology and mechanical properties of multi-stranded amyloid fibrils by using equilibrium molecular dynamics simulation and elastic network model. It is shown that the helical pitch of multi-stranded amyloid fibril is linearly proportional to the number of filaments comprising the amyloid fibril, and that multi-strandedness gives rise to improving the bending rigidity of the fibril. Moreover, we have also studied the morphology and mechanical properties of a single protofilament (filament) in order to understand the effect of cross-β structure and mutation on the structures and mechanical properties of amyloid fibrils. Our study sheds light on the underlying design principles showing how the multi-stranded amyloid fibril is formed and how the structure of amyloid fibrils governs their nanomechanical properties.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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