Polyproline II propensities from GGXGG peptides reveal an anticorrelation with β-sheet scales
Protein Structure, Secondary
There is growing appreciation of the functional relevance of unfolded proteins in biology. However, unfolded states of proteins have proven inaccessible to the usual techniques for high-resolution structural and energetic characterization. Unfolded states are still generally conceived of as statistical coils, based on the pioneering work of Flory [(1969) Statistical Mechanics of Chain Molecules (Wiley, New York)] and Tanford [(1968) Adv. Protein Chem. 23, 121-282]. Recently, several lines of independent evidence have raised doubts about the random coil model and offer support for alternative views. Here, we show that polyproline II conformation is dominant in a host-guest peptide model AcGGXGGNH(2) (X not equal glycine), in equilibrium predominantly with beta-structure. This result is inconsistent with a random coil model and the general view that these peptides are unstructured. By calculating a set of apparent DeltaG values from the measured coupling constants of the backbone amides, we can construct a polyproline II scale that correlates negatively with beta-sheet scales.