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Biochemistry. 2006 Aug 8;45(31):9518-30.

Localizing alpha-helices in human tropoelastin: assembly of the elastin "puzzle".

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Department of Chemistry, Università degli Studi della Basilicata,Via N. Sauro, 85, 85100 Potenza, Italy.


Polyalanine cross-linking domains encoded by exons 6, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 of human tropoelastin were synthesized, and their conformations were studied in different solutions and at different temperatures by CD and (1)H NMR. The results demonstrated the presence of poly-proline II helix (PPII) in aqueous solvent and of alpha-helical conformation in TFE. The (1)H NMR results allowed the precise localization of the helices along the peptide sequence. These data were further refined by prediction algorithms in order to take into account the reduced helix stability at the end of the peptides. Furthermore, the influence of flanking residues was checked by synthesizing and by determining the structure of a peptide spanning exon 31 coded domain and the first five residues of the following exon 32 coded domain. These studies, together with those previously published [Tamburro, A. M., Bochicchio, B., and Pepe, A. (2003) Biochemistry 42, 13147-62], are used to propose a coherent recomposition of the elastin pieces (domains) in order to give an acceptable solution to the elastin structure-function problem.

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