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Biophys J. 2018 Feb 27;114(4):870-884. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.12.025.

Highly Disordered Amyloid-β Monomer Probed by Single-Molecule FRET and MD Simulation.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
2
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
4
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address: robert.best2@nih.gov.
5
Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Electronic address: chunghoi@niddk.nih.gov.

Abstract

Monomers of amyloid-β (Aβ) protein are known to be disordered, but there is considerable controversy over the existence of residual or transient conformations that can potentially promote oligomerization and fibril formation. We employed single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) spectroscopy with site-specific dye labeling using an unnatural amino acid and molecular dynamics simulations to investigate conformations and dynamics of Aβ isoforms with 40 (Aβ40) and 42 residues (Aβ42). The FRET efficiency distributions of both proteins measured in phosphate-buffered saline at room temperature show a single peak with very similar FRET efficiencies, indicating there is apparently only one state. 2D FRET efficiency-donor lifetime analysis reveals, however, that there is a broad distribution of rapidly interconverting conformations. Using nanosecond fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we measured the timescale of the fluctuations between these conformations to be ∼35 ns, similar to that of disordered proteins. These results suggest that both Aβ40 and Aβ42 populate an ensemble of rapidly reconfiguring unfolded states, with no long-lived conformational state distinguishable from that of the disordered ensemble. To gain molecular-level insights into these observations, we performed molecular dynamics simulations with a force field optimized to describe disordered proteins. We find, as in experiments, that both peptides populate configurations consistent with random polymer chains, with the vast majority of conformations lacking significant secondary structure, giving rise to very similar ensemble-averaged FRET efficiencies.

PMID:
29490247
PMCID:
PMC5984999
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2017.12.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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