It is well established that amyloid proteins play a primary role in neurodegenerative diseases. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type II diabetes, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s diseases are part of a wider family encompassing more than 50 human pathologies related to aggregation of proteins. Although this field of research is thoroughly investigated, several aspects of fibrillization remain misunderstood, which in turn slows down, or even impedes, advances in treating and curing amyloidoses. To solve this problem, several research groups have chosen to focus on short fragments of amyloid proteins, sequences that have been found to be of great importance for the amyloid formation process. Studying short peptides allows bypassing the complexity of working with full-length proteins and may provide important information relative to critical segments of amyloid proteins. To this end, efficient biophysical tools are required. In this review, we focus on two essential types of spectroscopic techniques, i.e., vibrational spectroscopy and its derivatives (conventional Raman scattering, deep-UV resonance Raman (DUVRR), Raman optical activity (ROA), surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS), infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy, vibrational circular dichroism (VCD)) and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR). These techniques revealed powerful to provide a better atomic and molecular comprehension of the amyloidogenic process and fibril structure. This review aims at underlining the information that these techniques can provide and at highlighting their strengths and weaknesses when studying amyloid fragments. Meaningful examples from the literature are provided for each technique, and their complementarity is stressed for the kinetic and structural characterization of amyloid fibril formation.
Biophysical Reviews – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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