|Many globular and natively disordered proteins can convert into amyloid fibers. These fibers are associated with numerous pathologies1 as well as with normal cellular functions2,3, and frequently form during protein denaturation4,5. Inhibitors of pathological amyloid fibers could serve as leads for therapeutics, provided the inhibitors were specific enough to avoid interfering with normal processes. Here we show that computer-aided, structure-based design can yield highly specific peptide inhibitors of amyloid formation. Using known atomic structures of segments of amyloid fibers as templates, we have designed and characterized an all D-amino acid inhibitor of fibrillation of the tau protein found in Alzheimer’s disease, and a non-natural L-amino acid inhibitor of an amyloid fiber that enhances sexual transmission of HIV. Our results indicate that peptides from structure-based designs can disrupt the fibrillation of full-length proteins, including those like tau that lack fully ordered native structures.
|We thank M.I. Ivanova, J. Corn, T. Kortemme, D. Anderson, M.R. Sawaya, M. Phillips, S. Sambashivan, J. Park, M. Landau, Q. Zhang, R. Clubb, F. Guo, T. Yeates, J. Nowick, J. Zheng, and M.J. Thompson for discussions, HHMI, NIH, NSF, the GATES foundation, and the Joint Center for Translational Medicine for support, R. Peterson for help with NMR experiments, E. Mandelkow for providing tau constructs, R. Riek for providing amyloid beta, J. Stroud for amyloid beta preparation. Support for JK was from the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, for HWC by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, for JM from the programme for junior-professors by the ministry of science, Baden-Württemberg, and for SAS by a UCLA-IGERT bioinformatics traineeship.