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Biopolymers. 1990;30(3-4):239-56.

The solution conformations of ferrichrome and deferriferrichrome determined by 1H-NMR spectroscopy and computational modeling.

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Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3809.


We have applied computational procedures that utilize nmr data to model the solution conformation of ferrichrome, a rigid microbial iron transport cyclohexapeptide of known x-ray crystallographic structure [D. van der Helm et al. (1980) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 102, 4224-4231]. The Al3+ and Ga3+ diamagnetic analogues, alumichrome and gallichrome, dissolved in d6-dimethylsulfoxide (d6-DMSO), were investigated via one- and two-dimensional 1H-nmr spectroscopy at 300, 600, and 620 MHz. Interproton distance constraints derived from proton Overhauser experiments were input to a distance geometry algorithm [T. F. Havel and K. Wüthrich (1984) Bull. Math. Biol. 46, 673-691] in order to generate a family of ferrichrome structures consistent with the experimental data. These models were subsequently optimized through restrained molecular dynamics/energy minimization [B. R. Brooks et al. (1983) J. Comp. Chem. 4, 187-217]. The resulting structures were characterized in terms of relative energies and conformational properties. Computations based on integration of the generalized Bloch equations for the complete molecule, which include the 14N-1H dipolar interaction, demonstrate that the x-ray coordinates reproduce the experimental nuclear Overhauser effect time courses very well, and indicate that there are no significant differences between the crystalline and solution conformations of ferrichrome. A similar study of the metal free peptide, deferriferrichrome, suggests that at least two conformers are present in d6-DMSO at 23 degrees C. Both are different from the ferrichrome structure and explain, through conformational averaging, the observed amide NH and CH alpha multiplet splittings. The occurrence of interconverting peptide backbone conformations yields an increased number of sequential NH-CH alpha and NH-NH Overhauser connectivities, which reflects the mean value of r-6 dependence of the dipolar interaction. Our results support the idea that, in the case of structurally rigid peptides, moderately accurate distance constraints define a conformational subspace encompassing the "true" structure, and that energy considerations reduce the size of this subspace. For flexible peptides, however, the straight-forward approach can be misleading since the nmr parameters are averaged over substantially different conformational states.

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