Mechanisms of amyloid fibril formation – focus on domain-swapping


E. Žerovnik, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Structural Biology, Jožef Stefan Institute, Jamova 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Conformational diseases constitute a group of heterologous disorders in which a constituent host protein undergoes changes in conformation, leading to aggregation and deposition. To understand the molecular mechanisms of the process of amyloid fibril formation, numerous in vitro and in vivo studies, including model and pathologically relevant proteins, have been performed. Understanding the molecular details of these processes is of major importance to understand neurodegenerative diseases and could contribute to more effective therapies. Many models have been proposed to describe the mechanism by which proteins undergo ordered aggregation into amyloid fibrils. We classify these as: (a) templating and nucleation; (b) linear, colloid-like assembly of spherical oligomers; and (c) domain-swapping. In this review, we stress the role of domain-swapping and discuss the role of proline switches.