Also, the experiments used equal parts of the molecule to protein in order to stop the proteins from forming the toxic beta sheets, which may mean that therapies would require massive amounts of the compound to work effectively.
That stickiness is characteristic of all proteins that form neuron-killing beta sheets and may account for the speed at which plaques and other aggregates form.
The chain folds back and forth on itself to create a structure, called a beta sheet, that resembles accordion pleats.
To make the more ordered beta sheet, the researchers found they had to use alanine and glycine at certain positions.
Instead of building the molecule piecemeal, he created a synthetic gene to manufacture beta sheets and spliced it into Escherichia coli bacteria.
For instance, from a carefully designed artificial gene sequence, Tirrell has successfully synthesized a layered crystal made up of stacked beta sheets.
As with the development of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer's disease, certain molecules take on a seemingly sinister configuration -- the beta sheet
-- and accumulate as plaques.
Each unit's longest segment contains a nearly identical sequence of 15 amino acids, which arrange into the so-called beta sheets
that give the molecule its strength.
Several different proteins, such as immunoglobulins and the enzyme superoxide dismutase, have bell-shaped, slatted regions made up of an arrangement of amino acids called beta sheets