Elongation of Ordered Peptide Aggregate of an Amyloidogenic Hexapeptide NFGAIL Observed in Molecular Dynamics Simulations with Explicit Solvent

2005-10-05T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Chun Wu Hongxing Lei Yong Duan
The mechanisms by which amyloidogenic peptides and proteins form soluble toxic oligomers remain elusive. We have studied the formation of partially ordered tetramers and well-ordered octamers of an amyloidogenic hexapeptide NFGAIL (residues 22−27 of the human islet amyloid polypeptide) in our previous work. Continuing the effort, we here probe the β-sheet elongation process by a combined total of 2.0 μs molecular dynamics simulations with explicit solvent. In a set of 10 simulations with the peptides restrained to the extended conformation, we observed that the main growth mode was elongation along the β-sheet hydrogen bonds through primarily a two-stage process. Driven by hydrophobic forces, the peptides initially attached to the surface of the ordered oligomer, moved quickly to the β-sheet edges, and formed stable β-sheet hydrogen bonds. Addition of peptides to the existing oligomer notably improved the order of the peptide aggregate in which labile outer layer β-sheets were stabilized, which provides good templates for further elongation. These simulations suggested that elongation along the β-sheet hydrogen bonds occurs at the intermediate stage when low-weight oligomers start to form. We did not observe significant preference toward either parallel or antiparallel β-sheets at the elongation stage for this peptide. In another set of 10 unrestrained simulations, the dominant growth mode was disordered aggregation. Taken together, these results offered a glimpse at the molecular events leading to the formation of ordered and disordered low-weight oligomers.