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J Mol Biol. 1998 Nov 20;284(1):173-91.

Elucidating the folding problem of alpha-helices: local motifs, long-range electrostatics, ionic-strength dependence and prediction of NMR parameters.

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EMBL, Meyerhofstrasse 1, Heidelberg D-69117, Germany.


The information about the conformational behavior of monomeric helical peptides in solution, as well as the alpha-helix stability in proteins, has been previously utilized to derive a database with the energy contributions for various interactions taking place in an alpha-helix: intrinsic helical propensities, side-chain-side-chain interactions, main-chain-main-chain hydrogen bonds, and capping effects. This database was implemented in an algorithm based on the helix/coil transition theory (AGADIR). Here, we have modified this algorithm to include previously described local motifs: hydrophobic staple, Schellman motif and Pro-capping motif, new variants of these, and newly described side-chain-side-chain interactions. Based on recent experimental data we have introduced a position dependence of the helical propensities for some of the 20 amino acid residues. A new electrostatic model that takes into consideration all electrostatic interactions up to 12 residues in distance in the helix and random-coil conformations, as well as the effect of ionic strength, has been implemented. We have synthesized and analyzed several peptides, and used data from peptides already analysed by other groups, to test the validity of our electrostatic model. The modified algorithm predicts, with an overall standard deviation value of 6.6 (maximum helix is 100%), the helical, content of 778 peptides of which 223 correspond to wild-type and modified protein fragments. To improve the prediction potential of the algorithm and to have a direct comparison with nuclear magnetic resonance data, the algorithm now predicts the conformational shift of the CalphaH protons, 13Calpha and 3JalphaN values. We have found that for those peptides correctly predicted from the point of view of circular dichroism, the prediction of the NMR parameters is very good.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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