Amyloid fibrils are self-assembled aggregates of polypeptides that are implicated in the development of several human diseases. A peptide derived from amino acids 105–115 of the human plasma protein transthyretin forms homogeneous and well-defined fibrils and, as a model system, has been the focus of a number of studies investigating the formation and structure of this class of aggregates. Self-assembly of TTR(105–115) occurs at low pH, and this work explores the effect of protonation on the growth and stability of small cross-ß aggregates. Using molecular dynamics simulations of structures up to the decamer in both protonated and deprotonated states, we find that, whereas hexamers are more stable for protonated peptides, higher order oligomers are more stable when the peptides are deprotonated. Our findings imply a change in the acid pK of the protonated C-terminal group during the formation of fibrils, which leads to stabilization of higher-order oligomers through electrostatic interactions.
Porrini, M., Zachariae, U., Barran, P. E., & MacPhee, C. E. (2013). The effect of protonation state on the stability of Amyloid Oligomers assembled from TTR(105-115). Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 4(8), 1233-1238. https://doi.org/10.1021/jz400372u