How Do Gyrating Beads Accelerate Amyloid Fibrillization?
Abstract The chemical and physical mechanisms by which gyrating beads accelerate amyloid fibrillization in microtiter plate assays are unclear. Identifying these mechanisms will help optimize high-throughput screening assays for molecules and mutations that modulate aggregation and might explain why different research groups report different rates of aggregation for identical proteins. This article investigates how the rate of superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) fibrillization is affected by 12 different beads with a wide range of hydrophobicity, mass, stiffness, and topology but identical diameter. All assays were performed on D90A apo-SOD1, which is a stable and wild-type-like variant of SOD1. The most significant and uniform correlation between any material property of each bead and that bead’s effect on SOD1 fibrillization rate was with regard to bead mass. A linear correlation existed between bead mass and rate of fibril elongation ( R 2 = 0.7): heavier beads produced faster rates and shorter fibrils. Nucleation rates (lag time) also correlated with bead mass, but only for non-polymeric beads (i.e., glass, ceramic, metallic). The effect of bead mass on fibrillization correlated ( R 2 = 0.96) with variations in buoyant forces and contact forces (between bead and microplate well), and was not an artifact of residual momentum during intermittent gyration. Hydrophobic effects were observed, but only for polymeric beads: lag times correlated negatively with contact angle of water and degree of protein adhesion (surface adhesion and hydrophobic effects were negligible for non-polymeric beads). These results demonstrate that contact forces (alone) explain kinetic variation among non-polymeric beads, whereas surface hydrophobicity and contact forces explain kinetic variation among polymeric beads. This study also establishes conditions for high-throughput amyloid assays of SOD1 that enable the control over fibril morphologies and produce eightfold faster lag times and fourfold less stochasticity than in previous studies.
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