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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jan 2;279(1):282-7. Epub 2003 Oct 23.

The peptides acetyl-(Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2 and acetyl-(Gly-Pro-3(S)Hyp)10-NH2 do not form a collagen triple helix.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oregon Health & Science University, and Shriners Hospital for Children, Research Department, Portland, Oregon 97239.


Hydroxylation of proline residues in the Yaa position of the Gly-Xaa-Yaa repeated sequence to 4(R)-hydroxyproline is essential for the formation of the collagen triple helix. A small number of 3(S)-hydroxyproline residues are present in most collagens in the Xaa position. Neither the structural nor a biological role is known for 3(S)-hydroxyproline. To characterize the structural role of 3(S)-hydroxyproline, the peptide Ac-(Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2 was synthesized and analyzed by circular dichroism spectroscopy, analytical ultracentrifugation, and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. At 4 degrees C in water the circular dichroism spectrum indicates that this peptide was in a polyproline-II-like secondary structure with a positive peak at 225 nm similar to Ac-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2. The positive peak at 225 nm almost linearly decreases with increasing temperature to 95 degrees C without an obvious transition. Although the peptide Ac-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2 forms a trimer at 10 degrees C, sedimentation equilibrium experiments indicate that Ac-(Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2 is a monomer in water at 7 degrees C. To study the role of 3(S)-hydroxyproline in the Yaa position, we synthesized Ac-(Gly-Pro-3(S)Hyp)10-NH2. This peptide also does not form a triple helix in water. 1H Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy data (including line widths and nuclear Overhauser effects) are entirely consistent, with neither Ac-(Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp)10-NH2 nor Ac-(Gly-Pro-3(S)Hyp)10-NH2 forming a triple helix in water. Therefore 3(S)-hydroxyproline destabilizes the collagen triple helix in either position. In contrast, when 3(S)-hydroxyproline is inserted as a guest in the highly stable -Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyperepeated host sequence, Ac-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)3-Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)4-Gly-Gly-NH2 forms as stable a trimer (Tm=49.6 degrees C) as Ac-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)8-Gly-Gly-NH2 (Tm=48.9 degrees C). Given that Ac-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)3-Gly-4(R)Hyp-Pro-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)4-Gly-Gly-NH2 forms a triple helix nearly as stable as the above two peptides (Tm=45.0 degrees C) and the knowledge that Ac-(Gly-4(R)Hyp-Pro)10-NH2 does not form a triple helix, we conclude that the host environment dominates the structure of host-guest peptides and that these peptides are not necessarily accurate predictors of triple helical stability.

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