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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Design and synthesis of the pseudo-EF hand in calbindin D9K: effect of amino acid substitutions in the alpha-helical regions.

A series of 37-residue analogues of the pseudo-EF hand in bovine calbindin D9K has been synthesized by the solid phase method. In the presence of calcium an alpha-helical induction of up to 44% was observed for the peptide with the native sequence with a Kd for calcium binding of 0.35 mM. A number of amino acid substitutions have been carried out to study the packing of the two alpha-helices based on the crystal structure of the entire protein. Three strategies were employed: (1) replacement of the Leu residues, which in the crystal structure do not contribute to the hydrophobic interaction between the two helices, by Gln or Ala in order to control the orientation of the helix packing, (2) stabilization of the individual helix by introducing a Glu-...Lys+ salt bridge or by changing the N-terminal charge to compensate for the helix dipole moment, and (3) introduction of a disulfide bond between the two helices to help the packing of the helices. The mutants with the substitution of (Leu-30, Leu-32) to (Gln-30, Gln-32), (Gln-30, Ala-32), and (Ala-30,Ala-32) designed based on the strategy 1 do not show any affinity for calcium and have low alpha-helicity. The Leu-30 to Lys-30 mutant designed to form a salt bridge between the side chains of Glu-26 and Lys-30 has an apparent Kd for calcium of 6.8 mM. Kd of the N-terminal acetylated and succinylated mutants are 0.41 and 0.45 mM, respectively, and no increase in the alpha-helix content relative to that of the natural sequence peptide is observed. The disulfide containing mutants, namely Tyr-13, Leu-31 to Cys-13, Cys-31 and Tyr-13, Leu-31 to Cys-13, hCys-31, show apparent Kd values of 0.93 and 2.1 mM, respectively. The former mutant shows the highest alpha-helix content among the peptides studied in the presence and absence of calcium. While it is difficult to construct an isolated and rigid helix-loop-helix motif with peptides of this size, introduction of a disulfide bond proved to be effective for this purpose.[1]


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