Amyloid aggregation is driven by short sequences within proteins that self-assemble into characteristic amyloid structures.
About 30 human proteins are implicated in amyloid-associated diseases, but many more contain short sequences that are potentially amyloidogenic. Gallardo et al. designed a peptide based on an amyloidogenic sequence in the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor VEGFR2. The peptide induced VEGFR2 to form aggregates with features characteristic of amyloids. Amyloids were toxic only in cells that required VEGFR2 activity, suggesting that the toxicity was due to loss of function of VEGFR2, rather than to inherent toxicity of the aggregates. The peptide inhibited VEGFR2-dependent tumor growth in a mouse tumor model.