Inhibition of toxicity and protofibril formation in the amyloid-β peptide β(25-35) using N-methylated derivatives

Andrew J. Doig, E. Hughes, R. M. Burke, T. J. Su, R. K. Heenan, J. Lu

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    β(25-35) is a fragment of β-amyloid that retains its wild-type properties. N-methylated derivatives of β(25-35) can block hydrogen bonding on the outer edge of the assembling amyloid, so preventing the aggregation and inhibiting the toxicity of the wild-type peptide. The effects are assayed by Congo Red and thioflavin T binding, electron microscopy and an MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] toxicity assay. N-methyl-Gly-25 has similar properties to the wild-type, while five other methylation sites have varying effects on prefolded fibrils and fibril assembly. In particular, N-methyl-Gly-33 is able to completely prevent fibril assembly and reduces the toxicity of prefolded amyloid. With N-methyl-Leu-34 the fibril morphology is altered and toxicity reduced. A preliminary study of β(25-35) structure in aqueous solution was made by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). The protofibrillar aggregates are best described as a disc of radius 140 Å and height 53 Å (1 Å = 0.1 nm), though the possibility of polydisperse aggregates cannot be ruled out. No aggregates form in the presence of N-methyl-Gly-33. We suggest that the use of N-methylated derivatives of amyloidogenic peptides and proteins could provide a general solution to the problem of amyloid deposition and toxicity and that SANS is an important technique for the direct observation of protofibril formation and destruction in solution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)537-542
    Number of pages5
    JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002


    • Alzheimer's disease
    • Fibril
    • MTT
    • Neutron scattering


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