Length and saturation of fatty acids in phosphatidylserine determine the rate of lysozyme aggregation simultaneously altering the structure and toxicity of amyloid oligomers and fibrils. Academic Article uri icon


  • Abrupt aggregation of misfolded proteins is the underlying molecular cause of numerous severe pathologies including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Protein aggregation yields small oligomers that can later propagate into amyloid fibrils, -sheet-rich structures with a variety of topologies. A growing body of evidence suggests that lipids play an important role in abrupt aggregation of misfolded proteins. In this study, we investigate the roles of length and saturation of fatty acids (FAs) in phosphatidylserine (PS), an anionic lipid that is responsible for the recognition of apoptotic cells by macrophages, in lysozyme aggregation. We found that both the length and saturation of FAs in PS contribute to the aggregation rate of insulin. PS with 14-carbon-long FAs (14:0) enabled a much stronger acceleration of protein aggregation compared to PS with 18-carbon-long FAs (18:0). Our results demonstrate that the presence of double bonds in FAs accelerated the rate of insulin aggregation relative to PS with fully saturated FAs. Biophysical methods revealed morphological and structural differences in lysozyme aggregates grown in the presence of PS with varying lengths and FA saturation. We also found that such aggregates exerted diverse cell toxicities. These results demonstrate that the length and saturation of FAs in PS can uniquely alter the stability of misfolded proteins on lipid membranes.

published proceedings

  • Protein Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Frese, A., Goode, C., Zhaliazka, K., Holman, A. P., Dou, T., & Kurouski, D.

complete list of authors

  • Frese, Addison||Goode, Cody||Zhaliazka, Kiryl||Holman, Aidan P||Dou, Tianyi||Kurouski, Dmitry

publication date

  • August 2023