Prevention of peptide fibril formation in an aqueous environment by mutation of a single residue to Aib

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The behavior of a number of 16 residue polypeptides with a sequence Acetyl-EACARXZAACEAAARQ-amide, where X = V or A and Z = A or Aib, is studied under aqueous conditions. It is shown that the substitution of a single alanine residue by alpha-aminoisobutyric acid (Aib) completely alters both the conformation and the aggregation properties of the peptides. The Ala-Ala (X,Z = A,A) peptide is shown by circular dichroism and FTIR methods to adopt a predominately beta-sheet conformation. Furthermore, the peptide has limited solubility and is shown to form fibrils by electron microscopy and thioflavin T binding assays. In contrast, a single substitution at the center of peptide of alanine to Aib (X,Z = A,Aib) completely abolishes fibril formation and alters the conformation to a mixture of random coil and alpha-helix. The results show that Aib is a strong beta-sheet disrupter that is also able to adopt a helical conformation. This is linked to its role in peptaibol antibiotics. Aib provides an attractive alternative to proline and other substitutions in producing peptide variants with a lower tendency to produce fibril aggregates.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4492-4498
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2003