Schematic overview of the glucagon growth model showing (upper part) monomer-trimer equilibrium and (lower part) fibrillation process.
Glucagon monomers are in equilibrium with glucagon trimers. Elongation of a fibril is a two-step process, which can be interrupted by binding of the other oligomer. Fibrils consist of either monomers or trimers but never a combination of the two. A glucagon trimer (monomer) can bind to a growing fibril end and then dissociate or elongate the fibril after conformational rearrangement. Filled triangles (circles) symbolize trimers (monomers) bound irreversibly to a fibril, while hollow triangles (circles) mean unbound trimers (monomers). A glucagon monomer (trimer) can also bind to a growing fibril end, but in this arrested state it prevents further attachment of glucagon trimers (monomers).