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J Biol Chem. 2006 Sep 15;281(37):27566-74. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

The crystal structure of a collagen-like polypeptide with 3(S)-hydroxyproline residues in the Xaa position forms a standard 7/2 collagen triple helix.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Unit 1000, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, Texas 77030, and Research Department, Shriners Hospital for Children, Portland, OR 97239, USA.


Collagen has a triple helical structure comprising strands with a repeating Xaa-Yaa-Gly sequence. L-Proline (Pro) and 4(R)-hydroxyl-L-proline (4(R)Hyp) residues are found most frequently in the Xaa and Yaa positions. However, in natural collagen, 3(S)-hydroxyl-L-proline (3(S)Hyp) occurs in the Xaa positions to varying extents and is most common in collagen types IV and V. Although 4(R)Hyp residues in the Yaa positions have been shown to be critical for the formation of a stable triple helix, the role of 3(S)Hyp residues in the Xaa position is not well understood. Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated that the presence of 3(S)Hyp in the Xaa positions of collagen-like peptides actually has a destabilizing effect relative to peptides with Pro in these locations. Whether this destabilization is reflected in a local unfolding or in other structural alterations of the collagen triple helix is unknown. Thus, to determine what effect the presence of 3(S)Hyp residues in the Xaa positions has on the overall conformation of the collagen triple helix, we determined the crystal structure of the polypeptide H-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)3-(Gly-3(S)Hyp-4(R)Hyp)2-(Gly-Pro-4(R)Hyp)4-OH to 1.80 A resolution. The structure shows that, despite the presence of the 3(S)Hyp residues, the peptide still adopts a typical 7/2 superhelical symmetry similar to that observed in other collagen structures. The puckering of the Xaa position 3(S)Hyp residues, which are all down (Cgamma-endo), and the varphi/psi dihedral angles of the Xaa 3(S)Hyp residues are also similar to those of typical collagen Pro Xaa residues. Thus, the presence of 3(S)Hyp in the Xaa positions does not lead to large structural alterations in the collagen triple helix.

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