The Ratio of Monomeric to Aggregated Forms of Aβ40 and Aβ42 Is an Important Determinant of Amyloid-β Aggregation, Fibrillogenesis, and Toxicity
Hilal A. Lashuel
Aggregation and fibril formation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides Aβ40 and Aβ42 are central events in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. Previous studies have established the ratio of Aβ40 to Aβ42 as an important factor in determining the fibrillogenesis, toxicity, and pathological distribution of Aβ. To better understand the molecular basis underlying the pathologic consequences associated with alterations in the ratio of Aβ40 to Aβ42, we probed the concentration- and ratio-dependent interactions between well defined states of the two peptides at different stages of aggregation along the amyloid formation pathway. We report that monomeric Aβ40 alters the kinetic stability, solubility, and morphological properties of Aβ42 aggregates and prevents their conversion into mature fibrils. Aβ40, at approximately equimolar ratios (Aβ40/Aβ42 ~ 0.5–1), inhibits (>50%) fibril formation by monomeric Aβ42, whereas inhibition of protofibrillar Aβ42 fibrillogenesis is achieved at lower, substoichiometric ratios (Aβ40/Aβ42 ~ 0.1). The inhibitory effect of Aβ40 on Aβ42 fibrillogenesis is reversed by the introduction of excess Aβ42 monomer. Additionally, monomeric Aβ42 and Aβ40 are constantly recycled and compete for binding to the ends of protofibrillar and fibrillar Aβ aggregates. Whereas the fibrillogenesis of both monomeric species can be seeded by fibrils composed of either peptide, Aβ42 protofibrils selectively seed the fibrillogenesis of monomeric Aβ42 but not monomeric Aβ40. Finally, we also show that the amyloidogenic propensities of different individual and mixed Aβ species correlates with their relative neuronal toxicities. These findings, which highlight specific points in the amyloid peptide equilibrium that are highly sensitive to the ratio of Aβ40 to Aβ42, carry important implications for the pathogenesis and current therapeutic strategies of Alzheimer disease.