Activity and architecture of pyroglutamate-modified amyloid-β (AβpE3-42) pores

Alan L. Gillman, Hyunbum Jang, Joon Lee, Srinivasan Ramachandran, Bruce L. Kagan, Ruth Nussinov, Fernando Teran Arce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Among the family of Aβ peptides, pyroglutamate-modified Aβ (AβpE) peptides are particularly associated with cytotoxicity in Alzheimers disease (AD). They represent the dominant fraction of Aβ oligomers in the brains of AD patients, but their accumulation in the brains of elderly individuals with normal cognition is significantly lower. Accumulation of AβpE plaques precedes the formation of plaques of full-length Aβ (Aβ1-40/42). Most of these properties appear to be associated with the higher hydrophobicity of AβpE as well as an increased resistance to enzymatic degradation. However, the important question of whether AβpE peptides induce pore activity in lipid membranes and their potential toxicity compared with other Aβ pores is still open. Here we examine the activity of AβpE pores in anionic membranes using planar bilayer electrical recording and provide their structures using molecular dynamics simulations. We find that AβpE pores spontaneously induce ionic current across the membrane and have some similar properties to the other previously studied pores of the Aβ family. However, there are also some significant differences. The onset of Aβ pE3-42 pore activity is generally delayed compared with Aβ1-42 pores. However, once formed, AβpE3-42 pores produce increased ion permeability of the membrane, as indicated by a greater occurrence of higher conductance electrical events. Structurally, the lactam ring of AβpE peptides induces a change in the conformation of the N-terminal strands of the AβpE3-42 pores. While the N-termini of wild-type Aβ1-42 peptides normally reside in the bulk water region, the N-termini of AβpE3-42 peptides tend to reside in the hydrophobic lipid core. These studies provide a first step to an understanding of the enhanced toxicity attributed to AβpE peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7335-7344
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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