Nanomechanical properties of single amyloid fibrils

K.K.M. Sweers, Martin L. Bennink, Vinod Subramaniam

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31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Amyloid fibrils are traditionally associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease. However, the ability to form amyloid fibrils appears to be a more generic property of proteins. While disease-related, or pathological, amyloid fibrils are relevant for understanding the pathology and course of the disease, functional amyloids are involved, for example, in the exceptionally strong adhesive properties of natural adhesives. Amyloid fibrils are thus becoming increasingly interesting as versatile nanobiomaterials for applications in biotechnology. In the last decade a number of studies have reported on the intriguing mechanical characteristics of amyloid fibrils. In most of these studies atomic force microscopy (AFM) and atomic force spectroscopy play a central role. AFM techniques make it possible to probe, at nanometer length scales, and with exquisite control over the applied forces, biological samples in different environmental conditions. In this review we describe the different AFM techniques used for probing mechanical properties of single amyloid fibrils on the nanoscale. An overview is given of the existing mechanical studies on amyloid. We discuss the difficulties encountered with respect to the small fibril sizes and polymorphic behavior of amyloid fibrils. In particular, the different conformational packing of monomers within the fibrils leads to a heterogeneity in mechanical properties. We conclude with a brief outlook on how our knowledge of these mechanical properties of the amyloid fibrils can be exploited in the construction of nanomaterials from amyloid fibrils.
Original languageUndefined
Article number243101
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of physics: Condensed matter
Volume24
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • IR-84681
  • METIS-286481

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