Accelerated Amyloid Beta Pathogenesis by Bacterial Amyloid FapC

Ibrahim Javed, Zhenzhen Zhang, Jozef Adamcik, Nicholas Andrikopoulos, Yuhuan Li, Daniel E. Otzen, Sijie Lin, Raffaele Mezzenga, Thomas P. Davis*, Feng Ding, Pu Chun Ke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The gut–brain axis has attracted increasing attention in recent years, fueled by accumulating symptomatic, physiological, and pathological findings. In this study, the aggregation and toxicity of amyloid beta (Aβ), the pathogenic peptide associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD), seeded by FapC amyloid fragments (FapCS) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that colonizes the gut microbiome through infections are examined. FapCS display favorable binding with Aβ and a catalytic capacity in seeding the peptide amyloidosis. Upon seeding, twisted Aβ fibrils assume a much-shortened periodicity approximating that of FapC fibrils, accompanied by a 37% sharp rise in the fibrillar diameter, compared with the control. The robust seeding capacity for Aβ by FapCS and the biofilm fragments derived from P. aeruginosa entail abnormal behavior pathology and immunohistology, as well as impaired cognitive function of zebrafish. Together, the data offer the first concrete evidence of structural integration and inheritance in peptide cross-seeding, a crucial knowledge gap in understanding the pathological correlations between different amyloid diseases. The catalytic role of infectious bacteria in promoting Aβ amyloidosis may be exploited as a potential therapeutic target, while the altered mesoscopic signatures of Aβ fibrils may serve as a prototype for molecular assembly and a biomarker for screening bacterial infections in AD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001299
JournalAdvanced Science
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • amyloid diseases
  • amyloidosis
  • brain health cross seeding
  • gut–brain axis
  • neurotoxicity


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