Directly probing intermolecular structural change of a core fragment of β2-microglobulin amyloid fibrils with low-frequency Raman spectroscopy

Shinsuke Shigeto*, Chun Fu Chang, Hirotsugu Hiramatsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Amyloid fibrils, which are ordered aggregates of proteins or peptides, have attracted keen interest because their deposition causes serious human diseases. Despite many studies utilizing X-ray crystallography, solid-state NMR, and other methods, intermolecular interactions governing the fibril formation remain largely unclear. Here, we used low-frequency Raman (LFR) spectroscopy to investigate the intermolecular β-sheet structure of a core fragment of β2-microglobulin amyloid fibrils, β2m21-29, in aqueous buffer solutions. The LFR spectra (approximately 10-200 cm-1) of β2m21-29 amyloid fibrils measured at different pH values (ranging from 6.8 to 8.0) revealed a broad-spectral pattern with a maximum at ∼80 cm-1 below pH 7.2 and at ∼110 cm-1 above pH 7.4. This observation is attributed to a pH-dependent structural change from an antiparallel to a parallel intermolecular β-sheet structure. Multivariate curve resolution-alternating least-squares (MCR- ALS) analysis enabled us to decompose the apparently monotonous LFR spectra into three distinctly different contributions: Intermolecular vibrations of the parallel and antiparallel β-sheets and intramolecular vibrations of the peptide backbone. Peak positions of the obtained LFR bands not only exhibit a much more pronounced difference between the two β-sheets than the conventional amide I band, but they also suggest stronger intermolecular interaction, due presumably to the hydrophobic effect, in the parallel β-sheet than in the antiparallel β-sheet. The present results show that LFR spectroscopy in combination with the MCR-ALS analysis holds promise for real-time tracking of the intermolecular dynamics of amyloid fibril formation under physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-496
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number3
StatePublished - 26 Jan 2017

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