Send to

Choose Destination
Structure. 2006 Feb;14(2):247-55.

Antiparallel four-stranded coiled coil specified by a 3-3-1 hydrophobic heptad repeat.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Coiled-coil sequences in proteins commonly share a seven-amino acid repeat with nonpolar side chains at the first (a) and fourth (d) positions. We investigate here the role of a 3-3-1 hydrophobic repeat containing nonpolar amino acids at the a, d, and g positions in determining the structures of coiled coils using mutants of the GCN4 leucine zipper dimerization domain. When three charged residues at the g positions in the parental sequence are replaced by nonpolar alanine or valine side chains, stable four-helix structures result. The X-ray crystal structures of the tetramers reveal antiparallel, four-stranded coiled coils in which the a, d, and g side chains interlock in a combination of knobs-into-knobs and knobs-into-holes packing. Interfacial interactions in a coiled coil can therefore be prescribed by hydrophobic-polar patterns beyond the canonical 3-4 heptad repeat. The results suggest that the conserved, charged residues at the g positions in the GCN4 leucine zipper can impart a negative design element to disfavor thermodynamically more stable, antiparallel tetramers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center