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Amyloid Aggregation Inhibitory Mechanism of Arginine-rich D-peptides

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It is widely believed that Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis is driven by the production and deposition of the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in the brain. In this study, we employ a combination of in silico and in vitro approaches to investigate the inhibitory properties of selected arginine-rich D-enantiomeric peptides (D-peptides) against amyloid aggregation. The D-peptides include D3, a 12-residue peptide with anti-amyloid potencies demonstrated in vitro and in vivo, RD2, a scrambled sequence of D3, as well as truncated RD2 variants. Using a global optimization method together with binding free energy calculations followed by molecular dynamics simulations, we perform a detailed analysis of D-peptide binding to Aβ monomer and a fibrillar Aβ structure. Results obtained from both molecular simulations and surface plasmon resonance experiments reveal a strong binding of D3 and RD2 to Aβ, leading to a significant reduction in the amount of β structures in both monomer and fibril, which was also demonstrated in Thioflavin T assays. The binding of the D-peptides to Aβ is driven by electrostatic interactions, mostly involving the D-arginine residues and Glu11, Glu22 and Asp23 of Aβ. Furthermore, we show that the anti-amyloid activities of the D-peptides depend on the length and sequence of the Dpeptide, its ability to form multiple weak hydrophobic interactions with Aβ, as well as the Aβ oligomer size.

Keywords: Amyloid beta; D-peptides; ThT assay; amyloid inhibition; in silico; surface plasmon resonance

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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