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Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

Sara Linse


Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

Influence of denaturants on amyloid β42 aggregation kinetics


  • Tanja Weiffert
  • Georg Meisl
  • Samo Curk
  • Risto Cukalevski
  • Anđela Šarić
  • Tuomas P.J. Knowles
  • Sara Linse

Summary, in English

Amyloid formation is linked to devastating neurodegenerative diseases, motivating detailed studies of the mechanisms of amyloid formation. For Aβ, the peptide associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the mechanism and rate of aggregation have been established for a range of variants and conditions in vitro and in bodily fluids. A key outstanding question is how the relative stabilities of monomers, fibrils and intermediates affect each step in the fibril formation process. By monitoring the kinetics of aggregation of Aβ42, in the presence of urea or guanidinium hydrochloride (GuHCl), we here determine the rates of the underlying microscopic steps and establish the importance of changes in relative stability induced by the presence of denaturant for each individual step. Denaturants shift the equilibrium towards the unfolded state of each species. We find that a non-ionic denaturant, urea, reduces the overall aggregation rate, and that the effect on nucleation is stronger than the effect on elongation. Urea reduces the rate of secondary nucleation by decreasing the coverage of fibril surfaces and the rate of nucleus formation. It also reduces the rate of primary nucleation, increasing its reaction order. The ionic denaturant, GuHCl, accelerates the aggregation at low denaturant concentrations and decelerates the aggregation at high denaturant concentrations. Below approximately 0.25 M GuHCl, the screening of repulsive electrostatic interactions between peptides by the charged denaturant dominates, leading to an increased aggregation rate. At higher GuHCl concentrations, the electrostatic repulsion is completely screened, and the denaturing effect dominates. The results illustrate how the differential effects of denaturants on stability of monomer, oligomer and fibril translate to differential effects on microscopic steps, with the rate of nucleation being most strongly reduced.


  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease
  • NanoLund: Center for Nanoscience

Publishing year





Frontiers in Neuroscience



Document type

Journal article


Frontiers Media S. A.


  • Physical Chemistry


  • aggregation mechanism
  • denaturant
  • guanidinium hydrochloride
  • misfolding
  • self-assembly
  • urea




  • ISSN: 1662-4548