Protein aggregation into amyloid fibrils is a key feature of a multitude of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Prion disease. To detect amyloid fibrils, fluorophores with high sensitivity and better efficiency coupled with the low toxicity are in high demand even to date. In this pursuit, we have unveiled two benzimidazole-based fluorescence sensors ([C H N ] (C1) and [C H N O ] (C2), which possess exceptional affinity towards different amyloid fibrils in its sub-micromolar concentration (8 × 10 M), while under a similar concentration, the gold standard Thioflavin-T (ThT) fails to bind with amyloid fibrils. These fluorescent markers bind to α-Syn amyloid fibrils as well as amyloid fibrils forming other proteins/peptides including Aβ42 amyloid fibrils. The H- N HSQC NMR data collected on wild type α-Syn monomer with and without the fluorophores (C1 and C2) reveals that there is weak or no interactions between C1 or C2 with residues in α-Syn monomer, which indirectly reflects the specific binding ability of C1 and C2 to the α-Syn amyloid fibrils. Detailed studies further suggest that C1 and C2 can detect/bind with the α-Syn amyloid fibril as low as 100 × 10 M . Extremely low or no cytotoxicity is observed for C1 and C2 and they do not interfere with α-Syn fibrillation kinetics, unlike ThT. Both C1/C2 not only shows selective binding with amyloid fibrils in vitro by various proteins/peptides but also displays excellent affinity and selectivity towards α-Syn amyloid aggregates in SH-SY5Y cells and Aβ42 amyloid plaques in animal brain tissues. Overall, our data show that the developed dyes could be used for the detection of amyloid fibrils including α-Syn and Aβ 42 amyloids with higher sensitivity as compared to currently used ThT.
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