JOURNAL ARTICLE

Template-directed self-assembly and growth of insulin amyloid fibrils

Chanki Ha, Chan Beum Park
Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2005 June 30, 90 (7): 848-55
15803463
The formation of amyloid aggregates in tissue is a pathological feature of many neurodegenerative diseases and type II diabetes. Amyloid deposition, the process of amyloid growth by the association of individual soluble amyloid molecules with a pre-existing amyloid template (i.e., plaque), is known to be critical for amyloid formation in vivo. The requirement for a natural amyloid template, however, has made amyloid deposition study difficult and cumbersome. In the present work, we developed a novel, synthetic amyloid template by attaching amyloid seeds covalently onto an N-hydroxysuccinimide-activated surface, where insulin was chosen as a model amyloidogenic protein. According to ex situ atomic force microscopy observations, insulin monomers in solution were deposited onto the synthetic amyloid template to form fibrils, like hair growth. The fibril formation on the template occurred without lag time, and its rate was highly accelerated than in the solution. The fibrils were long, over 2 mum, and much thinner than those in the solution, which was caused by limited nucleation sites on the template surface and lack of lateral twisting between fibrils. According to our investigations using thioflavin T-induced fluorescence, birefringent Congo red binding, and circular dichroism, fibrils grown on the template were identified to be amyloids that formed through a conformational rearrangement of insulin monomers upon interaction with the template. The amyloid deposition rate followed saturation kinetics with respect to insulin concentration in the solution. The characteristics of amyloid deposition on the synthetic template were in agreement with previous studies performed with human amyloid plaques. It is demonstrated that the synthetic amyloid template can be used for the screening of inhibitors on amyloid deposition in vitro.

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