Understanding the mechanisms of amyloid formation and toxicity remain major challenges. Although substantial progress has been made in the development of methods able to identify the species formed during self-assembly and to describe the kinetic mechanisms of aggregation, the structure(s) of non-native species, including potentially toxic oligomers, remain elusive. Moreover, how fibrils contribute to disease remains unclear. Here we review recent advances in the development of small molecules and other reagents that are helping to define the mechanisms of protein aggregation in molecular detail. Such probes form a powerful platform with which to better define the mechanisms of structural conversion into amyloid fibrils and may provide the much-needed stepping stone for future development of successful therapeutic agents.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.