Proteins fold into amyloid structures with distinct conformations (strains) in neurodegenerative disease. In a new paper published in PNAS, the Condello and Degrado labs developed the EMBER (excitation multiplexed bright emission recording) imaging method to rapidly identify these amyloid conformations in situ. EMBER identified conformational strain differences in Aβ and tau deposits in human brains from different diseases, including tau strains in astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons from Pick’s disease. These findings will facilitate the identification of pathogenic protein aggregates to guide research and treatment of protein misfolding diseases.
Reference: Yang H, Yuan P, Wu Y, et al. EMBER multidimensional spectral microscopy enables quantitative determination of disease- and cell-specific amyloid strains. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 2023;120(12):e2300769120.