Application of the Double-Mutant Cycle Strategy to Protein Aggregation Reveals Transient Interactions in Amyloid-β Oligomers

Anirban Das, Alexander Korn, Adam Carroll, John A. Carver, Sudipta Maiti*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Transient oligomeric intermediates in the peptide or protein aggregation pathway are suspected to be the key toxic species in many amyloid diseases, but deciphering their molecular nature has remained a challenge. Here we show that the strategy of "double-mutant cycles", used effectively in probing protein-folding intermediates, can reveal transient interactions during protein aggregation. It does so by comparing the changes in thermodynamic parameters between the wild type, and single and double mutants. We demonstrate the strategy by probing the possible transient salt bridge partner of lysine 28 (K28) in the oligomeric states of amyloid β-40 (Aβ40), the putative toxic species in Alzheimer's disease. In mature fibrils, the binding partner is aspartate 23. This interaction differentiates Aβ40 from the more toxic Aβ42, where K28's binding partner is the C-terminal carboxylate. We selectively acetylated K28 and amidated the C-terminus of Aβ40, creating four distinct variants. Spectroscopic measurements of the kinetics and thermodynamics of aggregation show that K28 and the C-terminus interact transiently in the early phases of the Aβ40 aggregation pathway. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (using a simple analysis method that we introduce here that takes into account the isotopic mass distribution) supports this interpretation. It is also supported by cellular toxicity measurements, suggesting possible similarities in the mechanisms of toxicity of Aβ40 oligomers (which are more toxic than Aβ40 fibrils) and Aβ42. Our results show that double-mutant cycles can be a powerful tool for probing transient interactions during protein aggregation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12426-12435
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
    Issue number45
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2021


    Dive into the research topics of 'Application of the Double-Mutant Cycle Strategy to Protein Aggregation Reveals Transient Interactions in Amyloid-β Oligomers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this