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Structural regulation of a peptide-conjugated graft copolymer: a simple model for amyloid formation.

  • Koga, Tomoyuki1
  • Taguchi, Kazuhiro
  • Kobuke, Yoshiaki
  • Kinoshita, Takatoshi
  • Higuchi, Masahiro
  • 1 Nanoarchitectonics Research Center National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and CREST (Japan Science and Technology) Tsukuba Central 5, 1-1-1 Higashi, Tsukuba Ibaraki 305-8565, Japan. , (Japan)
Published Article
Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany)
Publication Date
Mar 03, 2003
PMID: 12596151


The self-assembly of peptides and proteins into beta-sheet-rich high-order structures has attracted much attention as a result of the characteristic nanostructure of these assemblies and because of their association with neurodegenerative diseases. Here we report the structural and conformational properties of a peptide-conjugated graft copolymer, poly(gamma-methyl-L-glutamate) grafted polyallylamine (1) in a water-2,2,2-trifluoroethanol solution as a simple model for amyloid formation. Atomic force microscopy revealed that the globular peptide 1 self-assembles into nonbranching fibrils that are about 4 nm in height under certain conditions. These fibrils are rich in beta-sheets and, similar to authentic amyloid fibrils, bind the amyloidophilic dye Congo red. The secondary and quaternary structures of the peptide 1 can be controlled by manipulating the pH, solution composition, and salt concentration; this indicates that the three-dimensional packing arrangement of peptide chains is the key factor for such fibril formation. Furthermore, the addition of carboxylic acid-terminated poly(ethylene glycol), which interacts with both of amino groups of 1 and hydrophobic PMLG chains, was found to obviously inhibit the alpha-to-beta structural transition for non-assembled peptide 1 and to partially cause a beta-to-alpha structural transition against the 1-assembly in the beta-sheet form. These findings demonstrate that the amyloid fibril formation is not restricted to specific protein sequences but rather is a generic property of peptides. The ability to control the assembled structure of the peptide should provide useful information not only for understanding the amyloid fibril formation, but also for developing novel peptide-based material with well-defined nanostructures.

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