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Continuous Flow Reactor for the Production of Stable Amyloid Protein Oligomers

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The predominant working hypothesis of Alzheimer's disease is that the proximate pathologic agents are oligomers of the amyloid β-protein (Aβ). "Oligomer" is an ill-defined term. Many different types of oligomers have been reported, and they often exist in rapid equilibrium with monomers and higher-order assemblies. This has made formal structure-activity determinations difficult. Recently, Ono et al. [Ono, K., et al. (2009) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 106, 14745-14750] used rapid, zero-length, in situ chemical cross-linking to stabilize the oligomer state, allowing the isolation and study of pure populations of oligomers of a specific order (number of Aβ monomers per assembly). This approach was successful but highly laborious and time-consuming, precluding general application of the method. To overcome these difficulties, we developed a "continuous flow reactor" with the ability to produce theoretically unlimited quantities of chemically stabilized Aβ oligomers. We show, in addition to its utility for Aβ, that this method can be applied to a wide range of other amyloid-forming proteins.

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