New Peptide Structure Can Help Prevent and Treat Amyloid Diseases Such As Alzheimer’s

New Peptide Structure Can Help Prevent and Treat Amyloid Diseases Such As Alzheimer’s
PeptideBioengineers at the University of Washington have designed peptide structures that can neutralize the conversion of a protein from its normal state into an abnormally folded, toxic form, preventing more than 40 amyloid diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Type 2 diabetes, for example. Ultimately, this could allow doctors to diagnose and treat diseases like Alzheimer’s, which currently has no cure. Researchers, who published their findings in the journal eLife, tested their peptides, called “alfa sheet," for anti-amyloidogenic activity in a fibrillization assay using transthyretin (a serum and cerebrospinal fluid carrier of the thyroid hormone thyroxine and retinol-binding protein bound to retinol). Four of the five peptides they designed were co-incubated with transthyretin at pH 4.5 to trigger dissociation of the native tetramer followed by aggregation. Aiming to target the toxic middle state a protein goes through as it transitions from normal to abnormal, the Washington team determined when the toxic oligomeric species was present during the course of aggregation. The toxicity of transthyretin was assessed by monitoring cell viability  after treating SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells with transthyretin that had been allowed to aggregate for different periods of time at pH 4.5. Toxicity was apparent around 24 hours. Under these conditions, the viability o
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