Amyloid-beta (A beta) peptide is the major component of plaques found in Alzheimer's disease patients. Using solid-state H-2 NMR relaxation performed on selectively deuterated methyl groups, we probed the dynamics in the threefold symmetric and twofold symmetric polymorphs of native A beta as well as the protofibrils of the D23N mutant. Specifically, we investigated the methyl groups of two leucine residues that belong to the hydrophobic core (L17 and L34) as well as M35 residues belonging to the hydrophobic interface between the cross-beta subunits, which has been previously found to be water-accessible. Relaxation measurements performed over 310-140 K and two magnetic field strengths provide insights into conformational variability within and between polymorphs. Core packing variations within a single polymorph are similar to what is observed for globular proteins for the core residues, whereas M35 exhibits a larger degree of variability. M35 site is also shown to undergo a solvent dependent dynamical transition in which slower amplitude motions of methyl axes are activated at high temperature. The motions, modeled as a diffusion of methyl axis, have activation energy by a factor of 2.7 larger in the twofold compared with the threefold polymorph, whereas D23N protofibrils display a value similar to the threefold polymorph. This suggests enhanced flexibility of the hydrophobic interface in the threefold polymorph. This difference is only observed in the hydrated state and is absent in the dry fibrils, highlighting the role of solvent at the cavity. In contrast, the dynamic behavior of the core is hydration-independent.
Vugmeyster, Liliya; Ostrovsky, Dmitry; Clark, Matthew A.; Falconer, Isaac B.; Hoatson, Gina L.; and Qiang, Wei, Fast Motions of Key Methyl Groups in Amyloid-beta Fibrils (2016). BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 111(10).