13C- and 15N-labeling of amyloid-β and inhibitory peptides to study their interaction via nanoscale infrared spectroscopy

Suman Paul, Adéla Jeništová, Faraz Vosough, Elina Berntsson, Cecilia Mörman, Jüri Jarvet, Astrid Gräslund, Sebastian K. T. S. Wärmländer and Andreas Barth

Communications Chemistry 6, 163 (2023)
Interactions between molecules are fundamental in biology. They occur also between amyloidogenic peptides or proteins that are associated with different amyloid diseases, which makes it important to study the mutual influence of two polypeptides on each other’s properties in mixed samples. However, addressing this research question with imaging techniques faces the challenge to distinguish different polypeptides without adding artificial probes for detection. Here, we show that nanoscale infrared spectroscopy in combination with 13C, 15N-labeling solves this problem. We studied aggregated amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) and its interaction with an inhibitory peptide (NCAM1-PrP) using scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy. Although having similar secondary structure, labeled and unlabeled peptides could be distinguished by comparing optical phase images taken at wavenumbers characteristic for either the labeled or the unlabeled peptide. NCAM1-PrP seems to be able to associate with or to dissolve existing Aβ fibrils because pure Aβ fibrils were not detected after mixing.