Kenyon College Associate Professor of Physics gives this week's physics colloquium, "Shooting Neutron Particles At Misbehaved Peptides: Looking At The Interaction Of Amyloid Aβ1-42 Peptide With Planar Membranes By Neutron Reflectometry."
When proteins misfold, they can aggregate into insoluble structures called amyloids that in turn can interact with cell membranes and form insoluble plaques in the body. One such amyloid, Aβ1-42, has been associated with neuronal toxicity in Alzheimer’s disease. We study how this amyloid interacts with synthetic bilayer membranes deposited on solid substrates by neutron reflectometry. Neutron reflectometry is a powerful technique available only at large national facilities, like the Spallation Neutron Source at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. In our application, neutron reflectometry helps determine the one-dimensional "normal-to-the-plane" scattering length density profile of these soft-mater films with nanometer resolution, thereby helping to establish the nature of protein-membrane interactions. We will discuss the sample fabrication protocol (sequential deposition of the polyelectrolyte polymer multilayer cushion and lipid bilayer) on silicon substrate, and present a novel reflectometry analysis that is particularly well suited to phase retrieval in "soft" film systems.
Reception to follow.
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