Structure-specific amyloid precipitation in biofluids


The composition of soluble toxic protein aggregates formed in vivo is currently unknown in neurodegenerative diseases, due to their ultra-low concentration in human biofluids and their high degree of heterogeneity. Here we report a method to capture amyloid-containing aggregates in human biofluids in an unbiased way, a process we name amyloid precipitation. We use a structure-specific chemical dimer, a Y-shaped, bio-inspired small molecule with two capture groups, for amyloid precipitation to increase affinity. Our capture molecule for amyloid precipitation (CAP-1) consists of a derivative of Pittsburgh Compound B (dimer) to target the cross β-sheets of amyloids and a biotin moiety for surface immobilization. By coupling CAP-1 to magnetic beads, we demonstrate that we can target the amyloid structure of all protein aggregates present in human cerebrospinal fluid, isolate them for analysis and then characterize them using single-molecule fluorescence imaging and mass spectrometry. Amyloid precipitation enables unbiased determination of the molecular composition and structural features of the in vivo aggregates formed in neurodegenerative diseases.

Journal details

Volume 14
Issue number 9
Pages 1045-1053
Available online
Publication date