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Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

Sara Linse


Portrait of Sara Snogerup Linse

The A beta 40 and A beta 42 peptides self-assemble into separate homomolecular fibrils in binary mixtures but cross-react during primary nucleation


  • Risto Cukalevski
  • Xiaoting Yang
  • Georg Meisl
  • Ulrich Weininger
  • Katja Bernfur
  • Birgitta Frohm
  • Tuomas P. J. Knowles
  • Sara Linse

Summary, in English

The assembly of proteins into amyloid fibrils, a phenomenon central to several currently incurable human diseases, is a process of high specificity that commonly tolerates only a low level of sequence mismatch in the component polypeptides. However, in many cases aggregation-prone polypeptides exist as mixtures with variations in sequence length or post-translational modifications; in particular amyloid beta (A beta) peptides of variable length coexist in the central nervous system and possess a propensity to aggregate in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Here we have probed the co-aggregation and cross-seeding behavior of the two principal forms of A beta, A beta 40 and A beta 42 that differ by two hydrophobic residues at the C-terminus. We find, using isotope-labeling, mass spectrometry and electron microscopy that they separate preferentially into homomolecular pure A beta 42 and A beta 40 structures during fibril formation from mixed solutions of both peptides. Although mixed fibrils are not formed, the kinetics of amyloid formation of one peptide is affected by the presence of the other form. In particular monomeric A beta 42 accelerates strongly the aggregation of A beta 40 in a concentration-dependent manner. Whereas the aggregation of each peptide is catalyzed by low concentrations of preformed fibrils of the same peptide, we observe a comparably insignificant effect when A beta 42 fibrils are added to A beta 40 monomer or vice versa. Therefore we conclude that fibril-catalysed nucleus formation and elongation are highly sequence specific events but A beta 40 and A beta 42 interact during primary nucleation. These results provide a molecular level description of homomolecular and heteromolecular aggregation steps in mixtures of polypeptide sequence variants.


  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease

Publishing year







Chemical Science





Document type

Journal article


Royal Society of Chemistry


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology




  • ISSN: 2041-6539