Structural and mechanistic insights into amyloid-β and α-synuclein fibril formation and polyphenol inhibitor efficacy in phospholipid bilayers

Henry M. Sanders, Blagojce Jovcevski, Michael T. Marty, Tara L. Pukala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Under certain cellular conditions, functional proteins undergo misfolding, leading to a transition into oligomers which precede the formation of amyloid fibrils. Misfolding proteins are associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. While the importance of lipid membranes in misfolding and disease aetiology is broadly accepted, the influence of lipid membranes during therapeutic design has been largely overlooked. This study utilized a biophysical approach to provide mechanistic insights into the effects of two lipid membrane systems (anionic and zwitterionic) on the inhibition of amyloid-β 40 and α-synuclein amyloid formation at the monomer, oligomer and fibril level. Large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) were shown to increase fibrillization and largely decrease the effectiveness of two well-known polyphenol fibril inhibitors, (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and resveratrol; however, use of immunoblotting and ion mobility mass spectrometry revealed this occurs through varying mechanisms. Oligomeric populations in particular were differentially affected by LUVs in the presence of resveratrol, an elongation phase inhibitor, compared to EGCG, a nucleation targeted inhibitor. Ion mobility mass spectrometry showed EGCG interacts with or induces more compact forms of monomeric protein typical of off-pathway structures; however, binding is reduced in the presence of LUVs, likely due to partitioning in the membrane environment. Competing effects of the lipids and inhibitor, along with reduced inhibitor binding in the presence of LUVs, provide a mechanistic understanding of decreased inhibitor efficacy in a lipid environment. Together, this study highlights that amyloid inhibitor design may be misguided if effects of lipid membrane composition and architecture are not considered during development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-230
Number of pages16
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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