Several natural and synthetic flavone derivatives have been reported to inhibit formation of amyloid fibrils or to remodel existing fibrils. These studies suggest that the numbers and positions of hydroxyl groups on the flavone rings determine their effectiveness as amyloid inhibitors. In many studies the primary method for determining the effectiveness of inhibition is measuring Thioflavin T (ThT) fluorescence. This method demonstrably results in a number of false positives for inhibition. We studied the effects of 265 commercially available flavone derivatives on insulin fibril formation. We enhanced the effectiveness of ThT fluorescence measurements by fitting kinetic curves to obtain halftime of aggregation (t50). Maximal values of ThT fluorescence varied two fold or more in one third of all cases, but this did not correlate with changes in t50. Changes in t50 values were more accurate measures of inhibition of amyloid formation. We showed that without a change in an assay, but just by observing complete kinetic curves it is possible to eliminate numbers of false positive and sometimes even false negative results. Examining the data from all 265 flavones we confirmed previous observations that identified the importance of hydroxyl groups for inhibition. Our evidence suggests the importance of hydroxyl groups at locations 5, 6, 7, and 4', and the absence of a hydroxyl group at location 3, for inhibiting amyloid formation. However, the main conclusion is that the positions are not additive. The structures and their effects must be thought of in the context of the whole molecule.
Malisauskas, R., Botyriute, A., Cannon, J. G., & Smirnovas, V. (2015). Flavone derivatives as inhibitors of insulin amyloid-like fibril formation. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0121231