Propagation of an Aβ Dodecamer Strain Involves a Three-Step Mechanism and a Key Intermediate

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Chemistry and Biochemistry


Mathematics and Natural Sciences


Proteinaceous deposits composed of fibrillar amyloid-β (Aβ) are the primary neuropathological hallmarks in Alzheimer disease (AD) brains. The nucleation-dependent aggregation of Aβ is a stochastic process with frequently observed heterogeneity in aggregate size, structure, and conformation that manifests in fibril polymorphism. Emerging evidence indicates that polymorphic variations in Aβ fibrils contribute to phenotypic diversity and the rate of disease progression in AD. We recently demonstrated that a dodecamer strain derived from synthetic Aβ42 propagates to morphologically distinct fibrils and selectively induces cerebral amyloid angiopathy phenotype in transgenic mice. This report supports the growing contention that stable oligomer strains can influence phenotypic outcomes by faithful propagation of their structures. Although we determined the mechanism of dodecamer propagation on a mesoscopic scale, the molecular details of the microscopic reactions remained unknown. Here, we have dissected and evaluated individually the kinetics of macroscopic phases in aggregation to gain insight into the process of strain propagation. The bulk rates determined experimentally in each phase were used to build an ensemble kinetic simulation model, which confirmed our observation that dodecamer seeds initially grow by monomer addition toward the formation of a key intermediate. This is followed by conversion of the intermediate to fibrils by oligomer elongation and association mechanisms. Overall, this report reveals important insights into the molecular details of oligomer strain propagation involved in AD pathology.

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Biophysical Journal





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