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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2005 Aug;62(15):1724-33.

Aluminum-triggered structural modifications and aggregation of beta-amyloids.

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CNR Institute of Biomedical Technologies, Metalloproteins Unit, Department of Biology, University of Padova, Viale G. Colombo, 3-35121, Padova, Italy.


We investigated the structural effects induced by Al3+ on different beta-amyloid (Abeta) fragments at pH 7.4 and T=25 degrees C, with particular attention given to the sequences 1-40 and 1-42. Al3+ caused peptide enrichment in beta sheet structure and formation of solvent-exposed hydrophobic clusters. These intermediates evolved to polymeric aggregates which organized in fibrillar forms in the case of the Al3+-Abeta(1-42) complex. Comparative studies showed that Zn2+ and Cu2+ were much less efficient than Al3+ in stimulating the spontaneous aggregation/fibrillogenesis of Abetas. Studies with liposomes as membrane models showed dramatic changes in the structural properties of the lipid bilayer in the presence of Al3+-Abeta complexes, suggesting a major role of Al3+ in Abeta-induced cell dysfunction. Al3+ effects were abolished by desferrioxamine mesylate (DFO) only in solution. We concluded that, in vivo, DFO may act as a protective agent by preventing or reverting Abeta aggregation in the extracellular spaces.

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