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Issue 10, 2004
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Competition between local conformational preferences and secondary structures in gas-phase model tripeptides as revealed by laser spectroscopy and theoretical chemistry

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Abstract

The gas-phase model tripeptides N-acetyl-Phe-Pro-NH2 and N-acetyl-Pro-Phe-NH2 have been studied experimentally and theoretically in order to investigate the local conformational preferences of the peptide backbone and their competition with secondary structures under solvent-free conditions. The combination of UV and IR spectroscopies shows that, under supersonic beam conditions, only a reduced number of conformations are formed, indicating efficient conformational relaxation processes in these species. IR spectroscopy in the NH stretch spectral range combined with density functional theory calculations proves to be a very efficient tool to assign the structure of these species in terms of intramolecular H-bonding. Classical secondary structures of biology, like repeated γ-turns are observed as major conformations. Only one minor conformation of N-Ac-Phe-Pro-NH2 was assigned to a β-turn structure. According to the nature of the main conformers, the backbone conformational trends on the phenylalanine (Phe) residue is shown to be very dependent upon the neighbouring residues: Phe adopts a β conformation when alone (in N-acetyl-Phe-NH2) or when followed by a proline residue (in N-acetyl-Phe-Pro-NH2) but favours a γL conformation when preceded by proline (in N-acetyl-Pro-Phe-NH2). These subtle preferences, resulting from a competition between weakly polar or dispersive interactions, constitute a very stringent test of the theoretical tools for protein modelling and simulation.

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Nov 2003, accepted on 20 Jan 2004 and first published on 19 Feb 2004


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B315470J
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2004,6, 2700-2709
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    Competition between local conformational preferences and secondary structures in gas-phase model tripeptides as revealed by laser spectroscopy and theoretical chemistry

    W. Chin, M. Mons, J. Dognon, F. Piuzzi, B. Tardivel and I. Dimicoli, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2004, 6, 2700
    DOI: 10.1039/B315470J

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