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The effects of conformational constraints on aspartic acid racemization

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In short polypeptides, L-aspartic acid (Asp) and L-asparagine (Asn) can undergo isomerization/deamidation reactions via a succinimide (Asu) intermediate resulting in the formation of D-aspartic acid. Some experimental evidence suggests that this reaction, which has been widely used in age determinations, is severely repressed in structured regions of proteins, like for example the triple-helix of collagen, indicating that conformational constraints imposed on the local peptide geometry by the peptide superstructure may inhibit the formation of Asn-containing sequences relative to Asp- or Asn-containing sequences. To examine this, molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics calculations have been performed on constrained and unconstrained Gly-Pro-Asn-Gly-Pro and Gly-Pro-Asu-Gly-Pro pentapeptides. In the constrained calculations, the influence of the protein helix is simulated by fixing the distance between the backbone-nitrogens in the first and last residue at 11.80 Å, a distance similar to that between comparable atoms in the collagen triple-helix. The results from these simulations show that the constraint significantly destabilizes the Asn-containing pentapeptide relative to the Asn-containing sequence; the molecular dynamics simulations, in which the influence of water was specifically taken into account, predict that the constraint raises the energy difference between these two pentapeptides by 8.8 ± 3.8 kcal/mol. This shows that a protein helical structure may severely repress Asp racemization and Asn deamidation. The conservation of such structures should therefore be taken into consideration when using D/L Asp ratios for age determination.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftOrganic Geochemistry
Vol/bind29
Udgave nummer5-7
Sider (fra-til)1227-1232
Antal sider6
ISSN0146-6380
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1998
Eksternt udgivetJa
Begivenhed18th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry - Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, Maastricht, Holland
Varighed: 22 sep. 199726 sep. 1997

Konference

Konference18th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry
LokationMaastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre
LandHolland
ByMaastricht
Periode22/09/199726/09/1997

ID: 232092735