Importance of Hydrophilic Hydration and Intramolecular Interactions in the Thermodynamics of Helix-Coil Transition and Helix-Helix Assembly in a Deca-Alanine Peptide.
ABSTRACT: For a model deca-alanine peptide the cavity (ideal hydrophobic) contribution to hydration favors the helix state over extended states and the paired helix bundle in the assembly of two helices. The energetic contributions of attractive protein-solvent interactions are separated into quasi-chemical components consisting of a short-range part arising from interactions with solvent in the first hydration shell and the remaining long-range part that is well described by a Gaussian. In the helix-coil transition, short-range attractive protein-solvent interactions outweigh hydrophobic hydration and favor the extended coil states. Analysis of enthalpic effects shows that it is the favorable hydration of the peptide backbone that favors the unfolded state. Protein intramolecular interactions favor the helix state and are decisive in favoring folding. In the pairing of two helices, the cavity contribution outweighs the short-range attractive protein-water interactions. However, long-range, protein-solvent attractive interactions can either enhance or reverse this trend depending on the mutual orientation of the helices. In helix-helix assembly, change in enthalpy arising from change in attractive protein-solvent interactions favors disassembly. In helix pairing as well, favorable protein intramolecular interactions are found to be as important as hydration effects. Overall, hydrophilic protein-solvent interactions and protein intramolecular interactions are found to play a significant role in the thermodynamics of folding and assembly in the system studied.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Integrase (IN) of the type 1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) catalyzes the integration of viral DNA into host cellular DNA. We identified a bi-helix motif (residues 149-186) in the crystal structure of the catalytic core (CC) of the IN-Phe185Lys variant that consists of the alpha(4) and alpha(5) helices connected by a 3 to 5-residue turn. The motif is embedded in a large array of interactions that stabilize the monomer and the dimer. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We describe the conformational and binding properties of the corresponding synthetic peptide. This displays features of the protein motif structure thanks to the mutual intramolecular interactions of the alpha(4) and alpha(5) helices that maintain the fold. The main properties are the binding to: 1- the processing-attachment site at the LTR (long terminal repeat) ends of virus DNA with a K(d) (dissociation constant) in the sub-micromolar range; 2- the whole IN enzyme; and 3- the IN binding domain (IBD) but not the IBD-Asp366Asn variant of LEDGF (lens epidermal derived growth factor) lacking the essential Asp366 residue. In our motif, in contrast to the conventional HTH (helix-turn-helix), it is the N terminal helix (alpha(4)) which has the role of DNA recognition helix, while the C terminal helix (alpha(5)) would rather contribute to the motif stabilization by interactions with the alpha(4) helix. CONCLUSION: The motif, termed HTHi (i, for inverted) emerges as a central piece of the IN structure and function. It could therefore represent an attractive target in the search for inhibitors working at the DNA-IN, IN-IN and IN-LEDGF interfaces.
Project description:Although helices play key roles in peptide-protein and protein-protein interactions, the helical conformation is generally unstable for short peptides (10-15 residues) in aqueous solution in the absence of their binding partners. Thus, stabilizing the helical conformation of peptides can lead to increases in binding potency, specificity, and stability towards proteolytic degradation. Helices have been successfully stabilized by introducing side chain-to-side chain crosslinks within the central portion of the helix. However, this approach leaves the ends of the helix free, thus leading to fraying and exposure of the non-hydrogen-bonded amide groups to solvent. Here, we develop a "capped-strapped" peptide strategy to stabilize helices by embedding the entire length of the helix within a macrocycle, which also includes a semirigid organic template as well as end-capping interactions. We have designed a ten-residue capped-strapped helical peptide that behaves like a miniprotein, with a cooperative thermal unfolding transition and Tm ?70?°C, unprecedented for helical peptides of this length. The NMR structure determination confirmed the design, and X-ray crystallography revealed a novel quaternary structure with implications for foldamer design.
Project description:Alpha-helices constitute the largest class of protein secondary structures and play a major role in mediating protein-protein interactions. Development of stable mimics of short alpha-helices would be invaluable for inhibition of protein-protein interactions. This Account describes our efforts in developing a general approach for constraining short peptides in alpha-helical conformations by a main-chain hydrogen bond surrogate (HBS) strategy. The HBS alpha-helices feature a carbon-carbon bond derived from a ring-closing metathesis reaction in place of an N-terminal intramolecular hydrogen bond between the peptide i and i + 4 residues. Our approach is centered on the helix-coil transition theory in peptides, which suggests that the energetically demanding organization of three consecutive amino acids into the helical orientation inherently limits the stability of short alpha-helices. The HBS method affords preorganized alpha-turns to overcome this intrinsic nucleation barrier and initiate helix formation. The HBS approach is an attractive strategy for generation of ligands for protein receptors because placement of the cross-link on the inside of the helix does not block solvent-exposed molecular recognition surfaces of the molecule. Our metathesis-based synthetic strategy utilizes standard Fmoc solid phase peptide synthesis methodology, resins, and reagents and provides HBS helices in sufficient amounts for subsequent biophysical and biological analyses. Extensive conformational analysis of HBS alpha-helices with 2D NMR, circular dichroism spectroscopies and X-ray crystallography confirms the alpha-helical structure in these compounds. The crystal structure indicates that all i and i + 4 C=O and NH hydrogen-bonding partners fall within distances and angles expected for a fully hydrogen-bonded alpha-helix. The backbone conformation of HBS alpha-helix in the crystal structure superimposes with an rms difference of 0.75 A onto the backbone conformation of a model alpha-helix. Significantly, the backbone torsion angles for the HBS helix residues fall within the range expected for a canonical alpha-helix. Thermal and chemical denaturation studies suggest that the HBS approach provides exceptionally stable alpha-helices from a variety of short sequences, which retain their helical conformation in aqueous buffers at exceptionally high temperatures. The high degree of thermal stability observed for HBS helices is consistent with the theoretical predictions for a nucleated helix. The HBS approach was devised to afford internally constrained helices so that the molecular recognition surface of the helix and its protein binding properties are not compromised by the constraining moiety. Notably, our preliminary studies illustrate that HBS helices can target their expected protein receptors with high affinity.
Project description:The nature and distribution of amino acids in the helix interfaces of four polytopic membrane proteins (cytochrome c oxidase, bacteriorhodopsin, the photosynthetic reaction center of Rhodobacter sphaeroides, and the potassium channel of Streptomyces lividans) are studied to address the role of glycine in transmembrane helix packing. In contrast to soluble proteins where glycine is a noted helix breaker, the backbone dihedral angles of glycine in transmembrane helices largely fall in the standard alpha-helical region of a Ramachandran plot. An analysis of helix packing reveals that glycine residues in the transmembrane region of these proteins are predominantly oriented toward helix-helix interfaces and have a high occurrence at helix crossing points. Moreover, packing voids are generally not formed at the position of glycine in folded protein structures. This suggests that transmembrane glycine residues mediate helix-helix interactions in polytopic membrane proteins in a fashion similar to that seen in oligomers of membrane proteins with single membrane-spanning helices. The picture that emerges is one where glycine residues serve as molecular notches for orienting multiple helices in a folded protein complex.
Project description:Helix-helix interactions are important for the folding, stability, and function of membrane proteins. Here, two independent and complementary methods are used to investigate the nature and distribution of amino acids that mediate helix-helix interactions in membrane and soluble alpha-bundle proteins. The first method characterizes the packing density of individual amino acids in helical proteins based on the van der Waals surface area occluded by surrounding atoms. We have recently used this method to show that transmembrane helices pack more tightly, on average, than helices in soluble proteins. These studies are extended here to characterize the packing of interfacial and noninterfacial amino acids and the packing of amino acids in the interfaces of helices that have either right- or left-handed crossing angles, and either parallel or antiparallel orientations. We show that the most abundant tightly packed interfacial residues in membrane proteins are Gly, Ala, and Ser, and that helices with left-handed crossing angles are more tightly packed on average than helices with right-handed crossing angles. The second method used to characterize helix-helix interactions involves the use of helix contact plots. We find that helices in membrane proteins exhibit a broader distribution of interhelical contacts than helices in soluble proteins. Both helical membrane and soluble proteins make use of a general motif for helix interactions that relies mainly on four residues (Leu, Ala, Ile, Val) to mediate helix interactions in a fashion characteristic of left-handed helical coiled coils. However, a second motif for mediating helix interactions is revealed by the high occurrence and high average packing values of small and polar residues (Ala, Gly, Ser, Thr) in the helix interfaces of membrane proteins. Finally, we show that there is a strong linear correlation between the occurrence of residues in helix-helix interfaces and their packing values, and discuss these results with respect to membrane protein structure prediction and membrane protein stability.
Project description:Insight into protein stability and folding remains an important area for protein research, in particular protein-protein interactions and the self-assembly of homodimers. The GrpE protein from Escherichia coli is a homodimer with a four-helix bundle at the dimer interface. Each monomer contributes a helix-loop-helix to the bundle. To probe the interface stabilization requirements, in terms of the amount of buried residues in the bundle necessary for dimer formation, internal deletion mutants (IDMs) were created that sequentially truncate each of the two helices in the helix-loop-helix region. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy showed that all IDM's still contained a significant amount of ?-helical secondary structure. IDM's that contained 11 or fewer of 22 residues originally present in the helices, or those that lost at least 50% of residues with less than 20% the solvent accessible surfaces (that is, hydrophobic residues) were unable to form a significant amount of dimer species as shown by chemical cross-linking. Gel filtration studies of IDM3.0 (one that retains 10 residues in each helix) show this variant to be mainly monomeric.
Project description:We have previously studied the unfolding equilibrium of bacterioopsin in a single phase solvent, using Förster mechanism fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) as a probe, from tryptophan donors to a dansyl acceptor. We observed an apparent unfolding transition in bacterioopsin perturbed by increasing ethanol concentrations [Nannepaga et al. (2004) Biochemistry 43, 50-59]. We have further investigated this transition and find that the unfolding is pH-dependent. We have now measured the apparent pK of acid-induced unfolding of bacterioopsin in 90% ethanol. When the acceptor is on helix B (Lys 41), the apparent pK for unfolding is 4.75; on the EF connecting loop (Cys 163), 5.15; and on helix G (Cys 222), 5.75. Five-helix proteolytic fragments are less stable. The apparent unfolding pKs are 5.46 for residues 72-248 (Cys 163) and 7.36 for residues 1-166 (Lys 41). When interpreted in terms of a simple equilibrium model for unfolding, the apparent pKs give relative free energies of unfolding in the range of -0.54 to -3.5 kcal/mol. The results suggest that the C-terminal helix of bacterioopsin is less stably folded than the N-terminal helices. We analyzed the pairwise helix-helix interaction surfaces of bacteriorhodopsin and three other seven-transmembrane-helix proteins on the basis of crystal structures. The results show that the interaction surfaces are smoother and the helix axis separations are closer in the amino-terminal two-thirds of the proteins compared with the carboxyl-terminal one-third. However, the F helix is important in stabilizing the folded structure, as shown by the instability of the 1-166 fragment. Considering the high-resolution crystal structure of bacteriorhodopsin, there are no obvious helix-helix interactions involving protein side chains which would be destabilized by protonation at the estimated pH of the unfolding transitions. However, a number of helix-bridging water molecules could become protonated, thereby weakening the helix-helix interactions.
Project description:Many therapeutically-relevant protein-protein interactions (PPIs) have been reported that feature a helix and helix-binding cleft at the interface. Given this, different approaches to disrupting such PPIs have been developed. While short peptides (<15 amino acids) typically do not fold into a stable helix, researchers have reported chemical approaches to constraining helix structure. However, these approaches rely on laborious, and often expensive, chemical synthesis and purification. Our premise is that protein-based solutions that stabilize a therapeutically-relevant helix offer a number of advantages. In contrast to chemically constrained helical peptides, or minimal/miniature proteins, which must be synthesized (at great expense and labor), a protein can be expressed in a cellular system (like all current protein therapeutics). If selected properly, the protein scaffold can stabilize the therapeutically-relevant helix. We recently reported a protein engineering strategy, which we call "helix-grafted display", and applied it to the challenge of suppressing HIV entry. We have reported helix-grafted display proteins that inhibit formation of an intramolecular PPI involving HIV gp41 C-peptide helix, and HIV gp41 N-peptide trimer, which contain C-peptide helix-binding clefts. Here, we used yeast display to screen a library of grafted C-peptide helices for N-peptide trimer recognition. Using 'hits' from yeast display library screening, we evaluated the effect helix mutations have on structure, expression, stability, function (target recognition), and suppression of HIV entry.
Project description:We performed long-time replica-exchange Monte Carlo simulations of bacteriorhodopsin transmembrane helices, which made it possible that wide conformational space was sampled. Using only the helix-helix interactions and starting from random initial configurations, we obtained the nativelike helix arrangement successfully and predicted a part of the configurations (three helices out of seven) precisely. By the principal component analysis we classified low-energy structures into some clusters of similar structures, and we showed that the above nativelike three-helix configuration is reproduced properly in most clusters and that not only the van der Waals interactions but also the electrostatic interactions contributed to the stabilization of the native structures.
Project description:The various structural variations observed in TM helices of membrane proteins have been deconstructed into 9 distinct types of helix perturbations. These perturbations are defined by the deviation of TM helices from the predominantly observed linear ?-helical conformation, to form 310- and ?-helices, as well as adopting curved and kinked geometries. The data presented here supplements the article 'Helix perturbations in Membrane Proteins Assist in Inter-helical Interactions and Optimal Helix Positioning in the Bilayer' (A. Shelar, M. Bansal, 2016) . This data provides strong evidence for the role of various helix perturbations in influencing backbone torsion angles of helices, mediating inter-helical interactions, oligomer formation and accommodation of hydrophobic residues within the bilayer. The methodology used for creation of various datasets of membrane protein families (Sodium/Calcium exchanger and Heme Copper Oxidase) has also been mentioned.