Membrane interactions of amyloidogenic proteins constitute central determinants both in protein aggregation as well as in amyloid cytotoxicity. Most reported studies of amyloid peptide-membrane interactions have employed model membrane systems combined with application of spectroscopy methods or microscopy analysis of individual binding events. Here, we applied for the first time, to our knowledge, imaging flow cytometry for investigating interactions of representative amyloidogenic peptides, namely, the 106–126 fragment of prion protein (PrP(106–126)) and the human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP), with giant lipid vesicles. Imaging flow cytometry was also applied to examine the inhibition of PrP(106–126)-membrane interactions by epigallocatechin gallate, a known modulator of amyloid peptide aggregation. We show that imaging flow cytometry provided comprehensive population-based statistical information upon morphology changes of the vesicles induced by PrP(106–126) and hIAPP. Specifically, the experiments reveal that both PrP(106–126) and hIAPP induced dramatic transformations of the vesicles, specifically disruption of the spherical shapes, reduction of vesicle circularity, lobe formation, and modulation of vesicle compactness. Interesting differences, however, were apparent between the impact of the two peptides upon the model membranes. The morphology analysis also showed that epigallocatechin gallate ameliorated vesicle disruption by PrP(106–126). Overall, this study demonstrates that imaging flow cytometry provides powerful means for disclosing population-based morphological membrane transformations induced by amyloidogenic peptides and their inhibition by aggregation modulators.
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