Polymorphism of oligomers of a peptide from β-amyloid

Johnny D. Pham, Borries Demeler, James S. Nowick

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23 Scopus citations


This contribution reports solution-phase structural studies of oligomers of a family of peptides derived from the β-amyloid peptide (Aβ). We had previously reported the X-ray crystallographic structures of the oligomers and oligomer assemblies formed in the solid state by a macrocyclic β-sheet peptide containing the Aβ15-23 nonapeptide. In the current study, we set out to determine its assembly in aqueous solution. In the solid state, macrocyclic β-sheet peptide 1 assembles to form hydrogen-bonded dimers that further assemble in a sandwich-like fashion to form tetramers through hydrophobic interactions between the faces bearing V18 and F20. In aqueous solution, macrocyclic β-sheet peptide 1 and homologue 2a form hydrogen-bonded dimers that assemble to form tetramers through hydrophobic interactions between the faces bearing L17, F 19, and A21. In the solid state, the hydrogen-bonded dimers are antiparallel, and the β-strands are fully aligned, with residues 17-23 of one of the macrocycles aligned with residues 23-17 of the other. In solution, residues 17-23 of the hydrogen-bonded dimers are shifted out of alignment by two residues toward the C-termini. The two hydrogen-bonded dimers are nearly orthogonal in the solid state, while in solution the dimers are only slightly rotated. The differing morphology of the solution-state and solid-state tetramers is significant, because it may provide a glimpse into some of the structural bases for polymorphism among Aβ oligomers in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5432-5442
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 9 2014


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