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Helix Conformation of a Small Peptide Melittin in a Methanol-Water Mixed Solvent Studied by NMR

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Temperature dependence of the α-helix conformation of bee venom melittin in methanol-water mixed solvents has been examined by NMR, in order to elucidate conformation stability and a phase diagram. At high methanol concentration of 100 - ca. 80 wt.%, melittin forms a full α-helix conformation in the temperature range from 25 °C to 60 °C. At intermediate methanol concentration of ca. 80 - ca. 25 wt.%, it undergoes a thermal transformation from a full α-helix to a partial α-helix. In solutions of low methanol concentrations of ca. 25 - 0 wt.%, partial α-helix monomers and their selfaggregated conformers coexist at low temperatures, and the relative number of the monomers increases with increase in temperature. The monomers turn to a random coil state at high temperatures only below ca. 10 wt. % methanol concentrations. The thermal transitions are discussed from the viewpoint of stability of intra-molecular hydrogen bonds and intermolecular hydrophobic interactions.

Keywords: NMR; hydrogen bond; hydrophobic interaction; melittin; methanol-water mixed solvent; phase diagram; α-helix

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2011

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  • 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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