Atomistic theory of amyloid fibril nucleation

作者:Cabriolu Raffaela; Kashchiev Dimo; Auer Stefan*
来源:Journal of Chemical Physics, 2010, 133(22): 225101.


We consider the nucleation of amyloid fibrils at the molecular level when the process takes place by a direct polymerization of peptides or protein segments into beta-sheets. Employing the atomistic nucleation theory (ANT), we derive a general expression for the work to form a nanosized amyloid fibril (protofilament) composed of successively layered beta-sheets. The application of this expression to a recently studied peptide system allows us to determine the size of the fibril nucleus, the fibril nucleation work, and the fibril nucleation rate as functions of the supersaturation of the protein solution. Our analysis illustrates the unique feature of ANT that the size of the fibril nucleus is a constant integer in a given supersaturation range. We obtain the ANT nucleation rate and compare it with the rates determined previously in the scope of the classical nucleation theory (CNT) and the corrected classical nucleation theory (CCNT). We find that while the CNT nucleation rate is orders of magnitude greater than the ANT one, the CCNT and ANT nucleation rates are in very good quantitative agreement. The results obtained are applicable to homogeneous nucleation, which occurs when the protein solution is sufficiently pure and/or strongly supersaturated.

  • 出版日期2010-12-14