Fatty Acid Concentration and Phase Transitions Modulate Aβ Aggregation Pathways
Aggregation of amyloid β (Aβ) peptides is a significant event that underpins Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. Aβ aggregates, especially the low-molecular weight oligomers, are the primary toxic agents in AD and hence, there is increasing interest in understanding their formation and behavior. Aggregation is a nucleation-dependent process in which the pre-nucleation events are dominated by Aβ homotypic interactions. Dynamic flux and stochasticity during pre-nucleation renders the reactions susceptible to perturbations by other molecules. In this context, we investigate the heterotypic interactions between Aβ and fatty acids (FAs) by two independent tool-sets such as reduced order modelling (ROM) and ensemble kinetic simulation (EKS). We observe that FAs influence Aβ dynamics distinctively in three broadly-defined FA concentration regimes containing non-micellar, pseudo-micellar or micellar phases. While the non-micellar phase promotes on-pathway fibrils, pseudo-micellar and micellar phases promote predominantly off-pathway oligomers, albeit via subtly different mechanisms. Importantly off-pathway oligomers saturate within a limited molecular size, and likely with a different overall conformation than those formed along the on-pathway, suggesting the generation of distinct conformeric strains of Aβ, which may have profound phenotypic outcomes. Our results validate previous experimental observations and provide insights into potential influence of biological interfaces in modulating Aβ aggregation pathways.