Age-related diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, are characterized by protein misfolding and the subsequent pathological deposition of fibrillized protein, also called amyloid. Several classes of amyloid-inhibitors have recently been tested, traditionally under bulk conditions. However, it has become apparent that amyloid fibrils and oligomers assemble and exert their cytotoxic effect at cellular membranes, rather than in bulk solution. Knowledge is therefore required of inhibitor activity specifically at the phospholipid membrane interface. Here we show, using surface-specific sum-frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy (AFM), that the commonly used (−)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a much less efficient amyloid inhibitor at a phospholipid interface than in bulk solution. Moreover, EGCG is not able to disaggregate existing amyloid fibrils at a phospholipid interface, in contrast to its behavior in bulk. Our results show that interfaces significantly affect the efficiency of inhibition by EGCG inhibitors and should therefore be considered during the design and testing of amyloid inhibitors.

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Publisher ACS
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Journal J. Am. Chem. Soc.
Engel, M.F.M, vandenAkker, C.C, Schleeger, M, Velikov, K.P, Koenderink, G.H, & Bonn, M. (2012). The polyphenol EGCG inhibits amyloid formation less efficiently at phospholipid interfaces than in bulk solution. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134(36). doi:10.1021/ja3031664