Computational Design of New Peptide Inhibitors for Amyloid Beta (A beta) Aggregation in Alzheimer's Disease: Application of a Novel Methodology

Eskici G., Gur M.

PLOS ONE, vol.8, no.6, 2013 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066178
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a neurodegenerative and incurable disease that is associated with the tight packing of amyloid fibrils. This packing is facilitated by the compatibility of the ridges and grooves on the amyloid surface. The GxMxG motif is the major factor creating the compatibility between two amyloid surfaces, making it an important target for the design of amyloid aggregation inhibitors. In this study, a peptide, experimentally proven to bind A beta 40 fibrils at the GxMxG motif, was mutated by a novel methodology that systematically replaces amino acids with residues that share similar chemical characteristics and subsequently assesses the energetic favorability of these mutations by docking. Successive mutations are combined and reassessed via docking to a desired level of refinement. This methodology is both fast and efficient in providing potential inhibitors. Its efficiency lies in the fact that it does not perform all possible combinations of mutations, therefore decreasing the computational time drastically. The binding free energies of the experimentally studied reference peptide and its three top scoring derivatives were evaluated as a final assessment/valuation. The potential of mean forces (PMFs) were calculated by applying the Jarzynski's equality to results of steered molecular dynamics simulations. For all of the top scoring derivatives, the PMFs showed higher binding free energies than the reference peptide substantiating the usage of the introduced methodology to drug design.