Increasing evidence shows that Aβ oligomers are key pathogenic molecules in Alzheimer's disease. Among Aβ oligomers, dimer is the smallest aggregate and toxic unit. Therefore, understanding its structural and dynamic properties is quite useful to prevent the formation and toxicity of the Aβ oligomers. In this study, we performed molecular dynamic simulations on four Aβ42 dimers, 2NCb, CNNC, NCNC and NCCN, within the hydrated DPPC membrane. Four Aβ42 dimers differ in the arrangements of two Aβ42 peptides. This study aims to investigate the impact of aggregation pattern of two Aβ peptides on the structural stability of the Aβ42 dimer and its disruption to the biological membrane. The MD results demonstrate that the NCCN, CNNC and NCNC have the larger structural fluctuation at the N-terminus of Aβ42 peptide, where the β-strand structure converts into the coil structure. The loss of the N-terminal β-strand further impairs the aggregate ability of Aβ42 dimer. In addition, inserting Aβ42 dimer into the membrane can considerably decrease the average APL of DPPC membrane. Moreover this decrease effect is largely dependent on the distance to the location of Aβ42 dimer and its secondary structure forms. Based on the results, the 2NCb is considered as a stable dimeric unit for aggregating the larger Aβ42 oligomer, and has a potent ability to disrupt the membrane.
Feng, W., Lei, H., Si, J., & Zhang, T. (2017). Study of structural stability and damaging effect on membrane for four Aβ42 dimers. PLoS ONE, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0179147