Oligopeptide-mediated helix stabilization of model peptides in aqueous solution

Yoshitaka Maeda, Terumichi Nakagawa, Yoshihiro Kuroda
Journal of Peptide Science 2003, 9 (2): 106-13
Oligopeptide-mediated helix stabilization of peptides in hydrophobic solutions was previously found by NMR and CD spectroscopic studies. The oligopeptide included the hydrophobic amino acids found in its parent peptide and were interposed by relevant basic oracidic amino acids. The strength of the interactions depended on the amino acid sequences. However, no helix-stabilizing effect was seen for the peptides in phosphate buffer solution, because the peptides assumed a random-coil structure. In order to ascertain whether the helix-stabilizing effect of an oligopeptide on its parent peptide could operate in aqueous solution, model peptides EK17 (Ac-AEAAAAEAAAKAAAAKA-NH2) and IFM17 (Ac-AEAAAAEIFMKAAAAKA-NH2) that may assume an alpha-helix in aqueous solutions were synthesized. Interactions were examined between various oligopeptides (EAAAK, KAAAE, EIFMK, KIFME, KIFMK and EYYEE) and EK17 or IFM17 in phosphate buffer and in 80% trifluoroethanol (TFE)-20% H2O solutions by CD spectra. EAAAK had little effect on the secondary structures of EK17 in both buffer and TFE solutions, while KAAAE, which has the reverse amino acid sequence of EAAAK, had a marked helix-destabilizing effect on EK17 in TFE. EIFMK and KIFME were found to stabilize the alpha-helical structure of EK17 in phosphate buffer solutions, whereas KIFMK and EYYEE destabilized the alpha-helical structure of EK17. EIFMK and KIFME had no effect on IFM17, because unexpectedly, IFM17 had appreciable amounts of beta-sheet structure in buffer solution. It was concluded that in order for the helix-stabilizing (1) the model peptide, the alpha-helical conformation of which is to be stabilized, should essentially assume an alpha-helical structure by nature, and (2) the hydrophobicity of the side-chains of the oligopeptide should be high enough for the oligopeptide to perform stable specific side chain-side chain intermolecular hydrophobic interactions with the model peptide.

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