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Tracking the Mechanism of Fibril Assembly by Simulated Two-Dimensional Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

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journal contribution
posted on 17.01.2013, 00:00 by A. R. Lam, J. J. Rodriguez, A. Rojas, H. A. Scheraga, S. Mukamel
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the accumulation of plaque deposits in the human brain. The main component of these plaques consists of highly ordered structures called amyloid fibrils, formed by the amyloid β-peptide (Aβ). The mechanism connecting Aβ and AD is yet undetermined. In a previous study, a coarse-grained united-residue model and molecular dynamics simulations were used to model the growth mechanism of Aβ amyloid fibrils. On the basis of these simulations, a dock/lock mechanism was proposed, in which Aβ fibrils grow by adding monomers at either end of an amyloid fibril template. To examine the structures in the early time-scale formation and growth of amyloid fibrils, simulated two-dimensional ultraviolet spectroscopy is used. These early structures are monitored in the far ultraviolet regime (λ = 190–250 nm) in which the computed signals originate from the backbone nπ* and ππ* transitions. These signals show distinct cross-peak patterns that can be used, in combination with molecular dynamics, to monitor local dynamics and conformational changes in the secondary structure of Aβ-peptides. The protein geometry-correlated chiral xxxy signal and the non-chiral combined signal xyxyxyyx were found to be sensitive to, and in agreement with, a dock/lock pathway.