National Center for
1Y32: NMR structure of humanin in 30% TFE solution
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2005) 329 p.152-160
Humanin is a newly identified 24-residue peptide that suppresses neuronal cell death caused by a wide spectrum of familial Alzheimer's disease genes and the beta-amyloid peptide. In this study, NMR and circular dichroism studies of synthetic humanin in aqueous and 30% 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol (TFE) solutions are reported. In aqueous solution, humanin exists predominantly in an unstructured conformation in equilibrium with turn-like structures involving residues Gly5 to Leu10 and Glu15 to Leu18, providing indication of nascent helix. In the less polar environment of 30% TFE, humanin readily adopts helical structure with long-range order spanning residues Gly5 to Leu18. Comparative 3D modeling studies and topology predictions are in qualitative agreement with the experimental findings in both environments. Our studies reveal a flexible peptide in aqueous environment, which is free to interact with possible receptors that mediate its action, but may also acquire a helical conformation necessary for specific interactions and/or passage through membranes.