Resolving the nanoscale structure of β-sheet assemblies using single-molecule orientation-localization microscopy.

bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology(2023)

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Synthetic peptides that self-assemble into cross-β fibrils have remarkable utility as engineered biomaterials due to their modularity and biocompatibility, but their structural and morphological similarity to amyloid species has been a long-standing concern for their translation. Further, their polymorphs are difficult to characterize using spectroscopic and imaging techniques that rely on ensemble averaging to achieve high resolution. Here, we utilize single-molecule orientation-localization microscopy (SMOLM) to characterize fibrils formed by the designed amphipathic enantiomers, KFE8 and KFE8 , and the pathological amyloid-beta peptide Aβ42. SMOLM reveals that the orientations of Nile red, as it transiently binds to both KFE8 and Aβ42, are consistent with a helical (bilayer) ribbon structure and convey the precise tilt of the fibrils' inner and outer backbones. SMOLM also finds polymorphic branched and curved morphologies of KFE8 whose backbones exhibit much more heterogeneity than those of more typical straight fibrils. Thus, SMOLM is a powerful tool to interrogate the structural differences and polymorphism between engineered and pathological cross β-rich fibrils.
nanoscale structure,microscopy,single-molecule,orientation-localization
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