Beta-amyloid fibril formation is promoted by step edges of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite

Dusan Losic, Lisandra L Martin, Marie-Isabel Aguilar, David H Small
Biopolymers 2006, 84 (5): 519-26
The aggregation of the amyloid-beta-protein (Abeta) is an important step in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. As Abeta fibrils are not found in all brain regions, endogenous factors may influence Abeta fibril formation. In this study, atomic force microscopy was used to investigate the role of surface phenomena in directing amyloid aggregation. Abeta1-40 was applied to a surface of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite at a concentration of 0.5 microM. Steps formed by edge-plane surface defects on the graphite were found to act as a template to promote the assembly of Abeta into fibrils. Initially, after being deposited on the graphite surface, Abeta had a uniform beaded morphology. However, after incubating (aging) the Abeta on the surface for several hours, the Abeta assembled along step edges to form linear aggregates. After more prolonged incubation, the linear Abeta aggregates fused to form mature fibrils with a distinctive helical morphology. The results demonstrate that surface interactions can promote the aggregation of Abeta into amyloid fibrils and they suggest that similar interactions could promote amyloid aggregation in vivo.

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