Observation of β-sheet aggregation in a gas-phase tau-peptide dimer

Timothy D. Vaden, Sally A.N. Gowers, Lavina C. Snoek

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33 Scopus citations


In Alzheimer's disease, the tau protein forms intracellular amyloid fibrils in which the 306VQIVYK311 sequence adopts parallel β-sheets, enabling fibril formation via cross-β steric zippers. We investigated aggregation of the protected segment (Ac-VQIVYK-NHMe) using IR/UV hole-burning spectroscopy in the NH stretch region in a cold molecular beam combined with DFT calculations in order to characterize its structure and identify the noncovalent interactions generally responsible for aggregation and stabilization in amyloid peptides. The computed and experimental IR spectra suggest that the tau-protein fragments form extended β-strands that are combined in a β-sheet through characteristic backbone hydrogen bonds, indicating that this secondary structure is energetically most attractive and readily forms in the gas phase, without any guiding interactions from a solvent or protein environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2472-2474
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 25 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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