Infoscience

Journal article

Kinetically Trapped Liquid-State Conformers of a Sodiated Model Peptide Observed in the Gas Phase

We investigate the peptide AcPheAla(5)Lyar(+), a model system for studying helix formation in the gas phase, in order to fully understand the forces that stabilize the helical structure. In particular, we address the question of whether the local fixation of the positive charge at the peptide's C-terminus is a prerequisite for forming helices by replacing the protonated C-terminal Lys residue by Ala and a sodium cation. The combination of gas-phase vibrational spectroscopy of cryogenically cooled ions with molecular simulations based on density-functional theory (DFT) allows for detailed structure elucidation. For sodiated AcPheAla(6), we find globular rather than helical structures, as the mobile positive charge strongly interacts with the peptide backbone and disrupts secondary structure formation. Interestingly, the global minimum structure from simulation is not present in the experiment. We interpret that this is due to,high barriers involved in rearranging the peptide cation interaction that ultimately result in kinetically trapped structures being observed in the experiment.

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