Flash frozen under the electron microscope: Examining the mechanical properties of Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils

“By using electron microscopic images of flash frozen samples, researchers have now been able to examine the exact structure of Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils and to assess their mechanical properties. As the team reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the fibrils are very stiff — one of the underlying causes of their pathogenicity. Because amyloid fibrils are very difficult to analyze with traditional biophysical techniques, Marcus Fändrich (Max Planck Unit for Enzymology of Protein Folding, Halle/Saale, Germany), Carsten Sachse (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK), and Nikolaus Grigorieff (Brandeis University, Waltham, USA) were forced to take another approach: They examined Alzheimer’s amyloid fibrils by electron cryomicroscopy.” More…