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We present ONIOM calculations using density functional theory (DFT) as the high and AM1 as the medium level that explore the abilities of different hexapeptide sequences to terminate the growth of a model for the tau-amyloid implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. We delineate and explore several design principles (H-bonding in the side chains, using antiparallel interactions on the growing edge of a parallel sheet, using all-D residues to form rippled interactions at the edge of the sheet, and replacing the H-bond donor N−H’s that inhibit further growth) that can be used individually and in combination to design such peptides that will have a greater affinity for binding to the parallel β-sheet of acetyl-VQIVYK-NHCH3 than the natural sequence and will prevent another strand from binding to the sheet, thus providing a cap to the growing sheet that arrests further growth. We found peptides in which the Q is replaced by an acetyllysine (aK) residue to be particularly promising candidates, particularly if the reverse sequence (KYVIaKV) is used to form an antiparallel interaction with the sheet.


This article originally appeared in The Journal of Physical Chemistry, available at

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