Selected amyloid structures available in the Protein Data Bank have been subjected to a comparative analysis. Classification is based on the distribution of hydrophobicity in amyloids that differ with respect to sequence, chain length, the distribution of beta folds, protofibril structure, and the arrangement of protofibrils in each superfibril. The study set includes the following amyloids: Aβ (1–42), which is listed as Aβ (15–40) and carries the D23N mutation, and Aβ (11–42) and Aβ (1–40), both of which carry the E22Δ mutation, tau amyloid, and α-synuclein. Based on the fuzzy oil drop model (FOD), we determined that, despite their conformational diversity, all presented amyloids adopt a similar structural pattern that can be described as a ribbon-like micelle. The same model, when applied to globular proteins, results in structures referred to as “globular micelles,” emerging as a result of interactions between the proteins’ constituent residues and the aqueous solvent. Due to their composition, amyloids are unable to attain entropically favorable globular forms and instead attempt to limit contact between hydrophobic residues and water by producing elongated structures. Such structures typically contain quasi hydrophobic cores that stretch along the fibril’s long axis. Similar properties are commonly found in ribbon-like micelles, with alternating bands of high and low hydrophobicity emerging as the fibrils increase in length. Thus, while globular proteins are generally consistent with a 3D Gaussian distribution of hydrophobicity, the distribution instead conforms to a 2D Gaussian distribution in amyloid fibrils.
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