JOURNAL ARTICLE

Conversion of non-fibrillar beta-sheet oligomers into amyloid fibrils in Alzheimer's disease amyloid peptide aggregation

Núria Benseny-Cases, Mercedes Cócera, Josep Cladera
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2007 October 5, 361 (4): 916-21
17679138
Abeta(1-40) is one of the main components of the fibrils found in amyloid plaques, a hallmark of brains affected by Alzheimer's disease. It is known that prior to the formation of amyloid fibrils in which the peptide adopts a well-ordered intermolecular beta-sheet structure, peptide monomers associate forming low and high molecular weight oligomers. These oligomers have been previously described in electron microscopy, AFM, and exclusion chromatography studies. Their specific secondary structures however, have not yet been well established. A major problem when comparing aggregation and secondary structure determinations in concentration-dependent processes such as amyloid aggregation is the different concentration range required in each type of experiment. In the present study we used the dye Thioflavin T (ThT), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, and electron microscopy in order to structurally characterize the different aggregated species which form during the Abeta(1-40) fibril formation process. A unique sample containing 90microM peptide was used. The results show that oligomeric species which form during the lag phase of the aggregation kinetics are a mixture of unordered, helical, and intermolecular non-fibrillar beta-structures. The number of oligomers and the amount of non-fibrillar beta-structures grows throughout the lag phase and during the elongation phase these non-fibrillar beta-structures are transformed into fibrillar (amyloid) beta-structures, formed by association of high molecular weight intermediates.

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