Based on atomic force microscopy analysis of the morphology of fibrillar species formed during fibrillation of α-synuclein, insulin, and the B1 domain of protein G, a previously described model for the assembly of amyloid fibrils of immunoglobulin light-chain variable domains is proposed as a general model for the assembly of protein fibrils. For all of the proteins studied, we observed two or three fibrillar species that vary in diameter. The smallest, protofilaments, have a uniform height, whereas the larger species, protofibrils and fibrils, have morphologies that are indicative of multiple protofilaments intertwining. In all cases, protofilaments intertwine to form protofibrils, and protofibrils intertwine to form fibrils. We propose that the hierarchical assembly model describes a general mechanism of assembly for all amyloid fibrils.
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