skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on March 16, 2023

Title: Conformational-specific self-assembled peptides as dual-mode, multi-target inhibitors and detectors for different amyloid proteins
Prevention and detection of misfolded amyloid proteins and their β-structure-rich aggregates are the two promising but different (pre)clinical strategies to treat and diagnose neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's diseases (AD) and type II diabetes (T2D). Conventional strategies prevent the design of new pharmaceutical molecules with both amyloid inhibition and detection functions. Here, we propose a “like-interacts-like” design principle to de novo design a series of new self-assembling peptides (SAPs), enabling them to specifically and strongly interact with conformationally similar β-sheet motifs of Aβ (association with AD) and hIAPP (association with T2D). Collective in vitro experimental data from thioflavin (ThT), atomic force microscopy (AFM), circular dichroism (CD), and cell assay demonstrate that SAPs possess two integrated functions of (i) amyloid inhibition for preventing both Aβ and hIAPP aggregation by 34–61% and reducing their induced cytotoxicity by 7.6–35.4% and (ii) amyloid sensing for early detection of toxic Aβ and hIAPP aggregates using in-house SAP-based paper sensors and SPR sensors. The presence of both amyloid inhibition and detection in SAPs stems from strong molecular interactions between amyloid aggregates and SAPs, thus providing a new multi-target model for expanding the new therapeutic potentials of SAPs and other designs with built-in amyloid inhibition and detection functions.
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Materials Chemistry B
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1754 to 1762
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Amyloid aggregation and microbial infection are considered as pathological risk factors for developing amyloid diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), type II diabetes (T2D), Parkinson's disease (PD), and medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Due to the multifactorial nature of amyloid diseases, single-target drugs and treatments have mostly failed to inhibit amyloid aggregation and microbial infection simultaneously, thus leading to marginal benefits for amyloid inhibition and medical treatments. Herein, we proposed and demonstrated a new “anti-amyloid and antimicrobial hypothesis” to discover two host-defense antimicrobial peptides of α-defensins containing β-rich structures (human neutrophil peptide of HNP-1 and rabbit neutrophil peptide of NP-3A), which have demonstrated multi-target, sequence-independent functions to (i) prevent the aggregation and misfolding of different amyloid proteins of amyloid-β (Aβ, associated with AD), human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP, associated with T2D), and human calcitonin (hCT, associated with MTC) at sub-stoichiometric concentrations, (ii) reduce amyloid-induced cell toxicity, and (iii) retain their original antimicrobial activity upon the formation of complexes with amyloid peptides. Further structural analysis showed that the sequence-independent amyloid inhibition function of α-defensins mainly stems from their cross-interactions with amyloid proteins via β-structure interactions. The discovery of antimicrobial peptides containing β-structures to inhibit both microbial infection and amyloid aggregation greatly expands themore »new therapeutic potential of antimicrobial peptides as multi-target amyloid inhibitors for better understanding pathological causes and treatments of amyloid diseases.« less
  2. Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been consistently related to the formation of senile amyloid plaques mainly composed of amyloid β (Aβ) peptides. The toxicity of Aβ aggregates has been indicated to be responsible for AD pathology. One scenario to decrease Aβ toxicity is the development of effective inhibitors against Aβ amyloid formation. In this study, we investigate the effect of gallium nitride nanoparticles (GaN NPs) as inhibitors of Aβ40 amyloid formation using a combination of biophysical approaches. Our results show that the lag phase of Aβ40 aggregation kinetics is significantly retarded by GaN NPs in a concentration dependent manner, implying the activity of GaN NPs in interfering with the formation of the crucial nucleus during Aβ aggregation. Our results also show that GaN NPs can reduce the amyloid fibril elongation rate in the course of the aggregation kinetics. It is speculated that the high polarization characteristics of GaN NPs may provoke a strong interaction between the particles and Aβ40 peptide and in this way decrease self-association of the peptide monomers to form amyloids.
  3. Amyloid cross-seeding, as a result of direct interaction and co-aggregation between different disease-causative peptides, is considered as a main mechanism for the spread of the overlapping pathology across different cells and tissues between different protein-misfolding diseases (PMDs). Despite the biomedical significance of amyloid cross-seeding in amyloidogenesis, it remains a great challenge to discover amyloid cross-seeding systems and reveal their cross-seeding structures and mechanisms. Herein, we are the first to report that GNNQQNY – a short fragment from yeast prion protein Sup35 – can cross-seed with both amyloid-β (Aβ, associated with Alzheimer's disease) and human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP, associated with type II diabetes) to form β-structure-rich assemblies and to accelerate amyloid fibrillization. Dry, steric β-zippers, formed by the two β-sheets of different amyloid peptides, provide generally interactive and structural motifs to facilitate amyloid cross-seeding. The presence of different steric β-zippers in a variety of GNNQQNY-Aβ and GNNQQNY-hIAPP assemblies also explains amyloid polymorphism. In addition, alteration of steric zipper formation by single-point mutations of GNNQQNY and interactions of GNNQQNY with different Aβ and hIAPP seeds leads to different amyloid cross-seeding efficiencies, further confirming the existence of cross-seeding barriers. This work offers a better structural-based understanding of amyloid cross-seeding mechanisms linked tomore »different PMDs.« less
  4. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) includes the formation of extracellular deposits comprising aggregated β-amyloid (Aβ) fibers associated with oxidative stress, inflammation, mitochondrial abnormalities, and neuronal loss. There is an associative link between AD and cardiac diseases; however, the mechanisms underlying the potential role of AD, particularly Aβ in cardiac cells, remain unknown. Here, we investigated the role of mitochondria in mediating the effects of Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 in cultured cardiomyocytes and primary coronary endothelial cells. Our results demonstrated that Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 are differently accumulated in cardiomyocytes and coronary endothelial cells. Aβ1-42 had more adverse effects than Aβ1-40 on cell viability and mitochondrial function in both types of cells. Mitochondrial and cellular ROS were significantly increased, whereas mitochondrial membrane potential and calcium retention capacity decreased in both types of cells in response to Aβ1-42. Mitochondrial dysfunction induced by Aβ was associated with apoptosis of the cells. The effects of Aβ1-42 on mitochondria and cell death were more evident in coronary endothelial cells. In addition, Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 significantly increased Ca2+ -induced swelling in mitochondria isolated from the intact rat hearts. In conclusion, this study demonstrates the toxic effects of Aβ on cell survival and mitochondria function in cardiac cells.
  5. de la Torre, Jack (Ed.)
    Background: Microcirculatory factors play an important role in amyloid-β (Aβ)-related neuropathology in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Transgenic (Tg) rat models of mutant Aβ deposition can enhance our understanding of this microvascular pathology. Objective: Here we report stereology-based quantification and comparisons (between- and within-group) of microvessel length and number and associated parameters in hippocampal subregions in Tg model of AD in Fischer 344 rats and non-Tg littermates. Methods: Systematic-random samples of tissue sections were processed and laminin immunostained to visualize microvessels through the entire hippocampus in Tg and non-Tg rats. A computer-assisted stereology system was used to quantify microvessel parameters including total number, total length, and associated densities in dentate gyrus (DG) and cornu ammonis (CA) subregions. Results: Thin hair-like capillaries are common near Aβ plaques in hippocampal subregions of Tg rats. There are a 53% significant increase in average length per capillary across entire hippocampus (p≤0.04) in Tg compared to non-Tg rats; 49% reduction in capillary length in DG (p≤0.02); and, higher microvessel density in principal cell layers (p≤0.03). Furthermore, within-group comparisons confirm Tg but not non-Tg rats have significant increase in number density (p≤0.01) and potential diffusion distance (p≤0.04) of microvessels in principal cell layers of hippocampal subregions. Conclusion: Wemore »show the Tg deposition of human Aβ mutations in rats disrupts the wild-type microanatomy of hippocampal microvessels. Stereology-based microvascular parameters could promote the development of novel strategies for protection and the therapeutic management of AD.« less