Polymorphism is a common property of amyloid fibers that complicates their detailed structural and functional studies. Here we report experiments illustrating the chemical principles that enable the formation of amyloid polymorphs with distinct stoichiometric composition. Using appropriate covalent tethering we programmed self-assembly of a model peptide corresponding to the [20-41] fragment of human β2-microglobulin into fibers with either trimeric or dimeric amyloid cores. Using a set of biophysical and biochemical methods we demonstrated their distinct structural, morphological, and templating properties. Furthermore, we showed that supramolecular approaches in which the peptide is modified with bulky substituents can also be applied to modulate the formation of different fiber polymorphs. Such strategies, when applied to disease-related peptides and proteins, will greatly help in the evaluation of the biological properties of structurally distinct amyloids.
Keywords: aggregation; amyloid-beta peptides; protein design; protein folding; self-assembly.
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