VIDEO: Amyloid Fibril Formation


Amyloid fibrils are associated with many diseases including Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s. However, they are also known to have functional roles such as cell signaling. “Sticky Ends” is a short film that describes the formation of amyloid fibrils and their different expressions in the human body. In this animation, the human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) fibril structure formed in type 2 diabetes is used to depict the following: 1) complex molecular environment, 2) initial connection of two monomers, 3) growth phases of the fibril, 4) “sticky ends,” i.e., the hydrophobic surface on the inner wall of each monomer that encourages expansion, and 5) twisted arrangement of the staggered beta strands. Animated with Autodesk Maya, this animation takes advantage of BulletPhysics and the Hair System to achieve extremely controlled dynamic motion. Other tools used include Pixologic’s ZBrush, Molecular Maya, and the Protein Data Bank.

AUDIO: a clip from “Turbidity Current” by Juan Antonio Nieto
Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0

Made in collaboration with the Structural Biology Lab of Ansgar Siemer at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute.