Indexed on: 28 Jul '07Published on: 28 Jul '07Published in: Protein Science
The monomeric Alzheimer's beta amyloid peptide, Abeta, is known to adopt a disordered state in water at room temperature, and a circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy experiment has provided the secondary-structure contents for the disordered state: 70% random, 25% beta-structural, and 5% helical. We performed an enhanced conformational sampling (multicanonical molecular dynamics simulation) of a 25-residue segment (residues 12-36) of Abeta in explicit water and obtained the conformational ensemble over a wide temperature range. The secondary-structure contents calculated from the conformational ensemble at 300 degrees K reproduced the experimental secondary-structure contents. The constructed free-energy landscape at 300 degrees K was not plain but rugged with five clearly distinguishable clusters, and each cluster had its own characteristic tertiary structure: a helix-structural cluster, two beta-structural clusters, and two random-structural clusters. This indicates that the contribution from the five individual clusters determines the secondary-structure contents experimentally measured. The helical cluster had a similarity with a stable helical structure for monomeric Abeta in 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE)/water determined by an NMR experiment: The positions of helices in the helical cluster were the same as those in the NMR structure, and the residue-residue contact patterns were also similar with those of the NMR structure. The cluster-cluster separation in the conformational space indicates that free-energy barriers separate the clusters at 300 degrees K. The two beta-structural clusters were characterized by different strand-strand hydrogen-bond (H-bond) patterns, suggesting that the free-energy barrier between the two clusters is due to the H-bond rearrangements.