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Biopolymers. 2008 May;89(5):380-91. doi: 10.1002/bip.20960.

Roles of beta-turns in protein folding: from peptide models to protein engineering.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

Abstract

Reverse turns are a major class of protein secondary structure; they represent sites of chain reversal and thus sites where the globular character of a protein is created. It has been speculated for many years that turns may nucleate the formation of structure in protein folding, as their propensity to occur will favor the approximation of their flanking regions and their general tendency to be hydrophilic will favor their disposition at the solvent-accessible surface. Reverse turns are local features, and it is therefore not surprising that their structural properties have been extensively studied using peptide models. In this article, we review research on peptide models of turns to test the hypothesis that the propensities of turns to form in short peptides will relate to the roles of corresponding sequences in protein folding. Turns with significant stability as isolated entities should actively promote the folding of a protein, and by contrast, turn sequences that merely allow the chain to adopt conformations required for chain reversal are predicted to be passive in the folding mechanism. We discuss results of protein engineering studies of the roles of turn residues in folding mechanisms. Factors that correlate with the importance of turns in folding indeed include their intrinsic stability, as well as their topological context and their participation in hydrophobic networks within the protein's structure.

PMID:
18275088
PMCID:
PMC2904567
DOI:
10.1002/bip.20960
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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