Amyloid Specific Monoclonal Antibodies
Ronald Wetzel, PhD University of Tennessee
Amyloid fibrils are intermediate structures formed during the assembly of the polymeric amyloid fibrils and are central to the mechanism of AD, yet we know very little about their structure. Dr. Wetzel is using two monoclonal antibodies with the ability to bind to amyloid fibrils in order to study their structure. There are antibodies that bind to amyloid fibrils through highly specialized surfaces that fit together with the fibrils like a hand in a glove. Dr. Wetzel is using a number of methods to learn more about the structures of these antibodies, since they will indirectly provide an understanding of fibril structure. In other words, by knowing what the glove looks like, Dr. Wetzel can build a model for the hand that fits into that glove. These antibodies will also be used to study different biochemical steps in the formation of larger aggregates of amyloid from smaller fibril subunits. This research could help to demonstrate the importance of particular forms of amyloid in AD, and lead to the development of a tool by which these important forms can be detected and measured in patients. This could then play an important role in the search for a vaccine against Alzheimer's.