Langer F, Eisele YS, Fritschi SK, Staufenbiel M, Walker LC, Jucker M.
Soluble Aβ seeds are potent inducers of cerebral β-amyloid deposition.
J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 12;31(41):14488-95.
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This well-designed study is an extension of the previous outstanding studies published by Jucker's group on amyloid induction in vivo. In my opinion, it represents a significant step, fortunately, in the right direction. It clearly demonstrates that soluble Aβ assemblies are potent amyloid-inducing factors. More importantly, it demonstrates that the most effective seeds are also the most conformationally dynamic and likely to bind other proteins. This study makes clever use of many well-established protocols, such as fractionation, sonication, and proteinase K digestion, to pinpoint the most effective seed, which turned out to be mainly soluble. Evolution in the amyloid field continues, and I expect that in the near future the same scenario will be demonstrated for other proteins such as synuclein and tau. The only piece of data I wish that the authors had included is information about the hydrophobicity of the different fractions and their ability to bind dyes such as thioflavin T, Congo red, and 8-anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonate (ANS).