Amyloid fibers are classified as a new generation of tunable bionanomaterials that exhibit new functions related to their distinctive characteristics, such as their universality, tunability, and stiffness. Here, we introduce the catalytic residues of serine protease into a peptide catalyst (PC) via an enzyme-mimic approach. The rational design of a repeating pattern of polar and nonpolar amino acids favors the conversion of the peptides into amyloid-like fibrils via self-assembly. Distinct fibrous morphologies have been observed at different pH values and temperatures, which indicates that different fibril packing schemes can be designed; hence, fibrillar peptides can be used to generate efficient artificial catalysts for amidolytic activities at mild pH values. The results of atomic force microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and wide-angle X-ray scattering analyses are used to discuss and compare the fibril structure of a fibrillar PC with its amidolytic activity. The pH of the fibrillation reaction crucially affects the pKa of the side chains of the catalytic triads and is important for stable fibril formation. Temperature is another important parameter that controls the self-assembly of peptides into highly stacked and laminated morphologies. The morphology and stability of fibrils are crucial and represent important factors for demonstrating the capability of the peptides to exert amidolytic activity. The observed amidolytic activity of PC4, one of the PCs, was validated using an inhibition assay, which revealed that PC4 can perform enzyme-like amidolytic catalysis. These results provide insights into the potential use of designed peptides in the generation of efficient artificial enzymes.
Two forms of abnormal fibrillary protein deposition are considered: amyloidosis and fibrillary (immunotactoid) glomerulonephritis. Amyloid is characterised by an antiparallel, beta-pleated configuration which imparts to it a unique apple-green birefringence after Congo red staining. Inspite of its fairly constant physical properties, the chemical composition of amyloid fibrils is amazingly diverse, encomposing AA protein, light chain fragments, transthyretin, procalcitonin, islet amyloid polypeptide, atrial natriuretic peptides, beta-amyloid protein, beta-2-microglobulin, cystatin C, gelsolin, apolipoprotein A1, lyzozyme and their mutant variants. Amyloid P component and heparan sulphate proteoglycan are ubiquitous non-fibrillary amyloid components which have significant roles in the amyloidogenetic process, as do also precursor fibril proteins. Different amyloid fibril proteins relate to different amyloidosis syndromes and different histological patterns, and provide the basis for new diagnostic approaches to this disorder. Glomerular deposits in fibrillary glomerulonephritis (FGN), although often mistaken for amyloid, differ from it in its negative Congophilia, wider fibril width and highly organised, microtubular-tactoidal appearance ultrastructurally. FGN is essentially a primary glomerulopathy resulting in progressive renal failure. Despite certain differences, intriguing similarities between both entities of fibrillary deposition pose a challenge to researchers as to the mechanisms of abnormal protein crystallization and fibril formation in tissues.