Understanding how peptides self-assemble

Scientists have developed an integrated computational and experimental approach to investigate the way proteins and peptides – chains of amino acids – aggregate.
Understanding the way the peptides assemble into such aggregates is important for two reasons:
1. Amyloid fibrils are a form of peptide aggregate and some of these are involved in the development of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the way in which peptide aggregation occurs could pinpoint key steps in the process that are relevant for drug discovery efforts aimed at preventing neurodegeneration.

2. There is significant excitement and interest in using peptide based aggregates in material science, for instance, as scaffolds for tissue engineering or molecular electronics. Understanding how aggregation occurs represents a first step towards intelligent manufacture of such materials.