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J Phys Chem B. 2017 Jun 22;121(24):5977-5987. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b04689. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

High-Resolution Structures of the Amyloid-β 1-42 Dimers from the Comparison of Four Atomistic Force Fields.

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Department of Physics, North Carolina State University , Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8202, United States.
Laboratoire de Biochimie Théorique, UPR 9080 CNRS, Université Paris Diderot , Sorbonne Paris Cité, IBPC, 13 Rue Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005 Paris, France.


The dimer of the amyloid-β peptide Aβ of 42 residues is the smallest toxic species in Alzheimer's disease, but its equilibrium structures are unknown. Here we determined the equilibrium ensembles generated by the four atomistic OPLS-AA, CHARMM22*, AMBER99sb-ildn, and AMBERsb14 force fields with the TIP3P water model. On the basis of 144 μs replica exchange molecular dynamics simulations (with 750 ns per replica), we find that the four force fields lead to random coil ensembles with calculated cross-collision sections, hydrodynamics properties, and small-angle X-ray scattering profiles independent of the force field. There are, however, marked differences in secondary structure, with the AMBERsb14 and CHARMM22* ensembles overestimating the CD-derived helix content, and the OPLS-AA and AMBER99sb-ildn secondary structure contents in agreement with CD data. Also the intramolecular beta-hairpin content spanning residues 17-21 and 30-36 varies between 1.5% and 13%. Overall, there are significant differences in tertiary and quaternary conformations among all force fields, and the key finding, irrespective of the force field, is that the dimer is stabilized by nonspecific interactions, explaining therefore its possible transient binding to multiple cellular partners and, in part, its toxicity.

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