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Structure Formation in Short Designed Peptides Probed by Proteolytic Cleavage

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The formation of local structure, in short peptides has been probed by examining cleavage patterns and rates of proteolysis of designed sequences with a high tendency to form β-hairpin structures. Three model sequences which bear fluorescence donor and acceptor groups have been investigated: Dab-Gaba-Lys-Pro-Leu-Gly-Lys-Val-Xxx-Yyy-Glu-Val-Ala-Ala-Cys-Lys-NH2 ï EDANS Xxx-Yyy: Peptide 1=DPro-LPro, Peptide 2=DPro-Gly, Peptide 3=Leu-Ala Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) provides a convenient probe for peptide cleavage. MALDI mass spectrometry has been used to probe sites of cleavage and CD spectroscopy to access the overall backbone conformation using analog sequences, which lack strongly absorbing donor and acceptor groups. The proteases trypsin, subtilisin, collagenase, elastase, proteinase K and thermolysin were used for proteolysis and the rates of cleavage determined. Peptide 3 is the most susceptible to cleavage by all the enzymes except thermolysin, which cleaves all three peptides at comparable rates. Peptides 1 and 2 are completely resistant to the action of trypsin, suggesting that β-turn formation acts as a deterrent to proteolytic cleavage.

Keywords: Fluorescent protease substrate; circular dichroism; fluorescence resonance energy transfer; mass spectrometry; proteases; β- turn; β-hairpin peptide

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560 012, India.

Publication date: May 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.

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