Tuomas P. J. Knowles

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The phenomenon of protein aggregation and amyloid formation has become the subject of rapidly increasing research activities across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Such activities have been stimulated by the association of amyloid deposition with a range of debilitating medical disorders, from Alzheimer's disease to type II diabetes, many of which(More)
We present an analytical treatment of a set of coupled kinetic equations that governs the self-assembly of filamentous molecular structures. Application to the case of protein aggregation demonstrates that the kinetics of amyloid growth can often be dominated by secondary rather than by primary nucleation events. Our results further reveal a range of(More)
The ability to relate bulk experimental measurements of amyloid formation to the microscopic assembly processes that underlie protein aggregation is critical in order to achieve a quantitative understanding of this complex phenomenon. In this review, we focus on the insights from classical and modern theories of linear growth phenomena and discuss how(More)
Protein molecules have the ability to form a rich variety of natural and artificial structures and materials. We show that amyloid fibrils, ordered supramolecular nanostructures that are self-assembled from a wide range of polypeptide molecules, have rigidities varying over four orders of magnitude, and constitute a class of high-performance biomaterials.(More)
Self-assembly processes resulting in linear structures are often observed in molecular biology, and include the formation of functional filaments such as actin and tubulin, as well as generally dysfunctional ones such as amyloid aggregates. Although the basic kinetic equations describing these phenomena are well-established, it has proved to be challenging,(More)
The cross-β amyloid form of peptides and proteins represents an archetypal and widely accessible structure consisting of ordered arrays of β-sheet filaments. These complex aggregates have remarkable chemical and physical properties, and the conversion of normally soluble functional forms of proteins into amyloid structures is linked to many debilitating(More)
We report the detailed mechanical characterization of individual amyloid fibrils by atomic force microscopy and spectroscopy. These self-assembling materials, formed here from the protein insulin, were shown to have a strength of 0.6 +/- 0.4 GPa, comparable to that of steel (0.6-1.8 GPa), and a mechanical stiffness, as measured by Young's modulus, of 3.3(More)
In nature, sophisticated functional materials are created through hierarchical self-assembly of simple nanoscale motifs. In the laboratory, much progress has been made in the controlled assembly of molecules into one-, two- and three-dimensional artificial nanostructures, but bridging from the nanoscale to the macroscale to create useful macroscopic(More)
Amyloid or amyloid-like fibrils represent a general class of nanomaterials that can be formed from many different peptides and proteins. Although these structures have an important role in neurodegenerative disorders, amyloid materials have also been exploited for functional purposes by organisms ranging from bacteria to mammals. Here we review the(More)
The formation of amyloid fibrils by the intrinsically disordered protein α-synuclein is a hallmark of Parkinson disease. To characterize the microscopic steps in the mechanism of aggregation of this protein we have used in vitro aggregation assays in the presence of preformed seed fibrils to determine the molecular rate constant of fibril elongation under a(More)