Heterogeneous and Surface-Catalyzed Amyloid Aggregation Monitored by Spatially Resolved Fluorescence and Single Molecule Microscopy

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Amyloid aggregation is associated with many diseases and may also occur in therapeutic protein formulations. Addition of co-solutes is a key strategy to modulate the stability of proteins in pharmaceutical formulations and select inhibitors for drug design in the context of diseases. However, the heterogeneous nature of this multicomponent system in terms of structures and mechanisms poses a number of challenges for the analysis of the chemical reaction. Using insulin as protein system and polysorbate 80 as co-solute, we combine a spatially resolved fluorescence approach with single molecule microscopy and machine learning methods to kinetically disentangle the different contributions from multiple species within a single aggregation experiment. We link the presence of interfaces to the degree of heterogeneity of the aggregation kinetics and retrieve the rate constants and underlying mechanisms for single aggregation events. Importantly, we report that the mechanism of inhibition of the self-assembly process depends on the details of the growth pathways of otherwise macroscopically identical species. This information can only be accessed by the analysis of single aggregate events, suggesting our method as a general tool for a comprehensive physicochemical characterization of self-assembly reactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)912-919
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 333300637