JOURNAL ARTICLE

Self-assembly of the beta2-microglobulin NHVTLSQ peptide using a coarse-grained protein model reveals a beta-barrel species

Wei Song, Guanghong Wei, Normand Mousseau, Philippe Derreumaux
Journal of Physical Chemistry. B 2008 April 10, 112 (14): 4410-8
18341325
Although a wide variety of proteins can assemble into amyloid fibrils, the structure of the early oligomeric species on the aggregation pathways remains unknown at an atomic level of detail. In this paper we report, using molecular dynamics simulations with the OPEP coarse-grained force field, the free energy landscape of a tetramer and a heptamer of the beta2-microglobulin NHVTLSQ peptide. On the basis of a total of more than 17 ns trajectories started from various states, we find that both species are in equilibrium between amorphous and well-ordered aggregates with cross-beta-structure, a perpendicular bilayer beta-sheet, and, for the heptamer, six- or seven-stranded closed and open beta-barrels. Moreover, analysis of the heptamer trajectories shows that the perpendicular bilayer beta-sheet is one possible precursor of the beta-barrel, but that this barrel can also be formed from a twisted monolayer beta-sheet with successive addition of chains. Comparison with previous aggregation simulations and the fact that nature constructs transmembrane beta-sheet proteins with pores open the possibility that beta-barrels with small inner diameters may represent a common intermediate during the early steps of aggregation.

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