Structural Aspects of Ca2+Binding by Acyclic Peptides: Low-Energy Conformational Domains and Molecular Dynamics of N-acetyl-L-prolyl-D-alanyl-L-alanine-N'-methylamide
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We have applied random-search, energy minimization and molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the structural aspects of the interaction of N-acetyl-L-prolyl-D-alanyl-L-alanine-N'-methylamide with Ca2+. Spectral data on related peptides had suggested that the beta-turn conformation might be a prerequisite for the binding of cation ion by such short linear peptides. In order to relate the conformational characteristics with the Ca(2+)-binding affinities of these peptides, the molecular events involved in cation binding need to be understood. We have addressed this problem in this study by using a systematic approach that involved the following steps. First, a random search technique was used to generate a large population of conformers for the free peptide in the absence of Ca2+. Next, the energies of these conformers were computed. Conformations with energies within 4 kcal/mol of the global minimum were analysed and found to fall into four main groups characterized by the presence of different types of hydrogen-bonded structures including single and consecutive beta-turns. The energies for interconversion of conformers from one group to another were computed and found to be relatively small (< 10 kcal/mol). Finally, molecular dynamics of the peptide at 300K in the presence of Ca2+ were used to simulate the cation binding process. Starting points for these simulations were generated by placing the ion in the vicinity of two molecules of the peptide. The simulation results showed that the conformers with two consecutive beta-turns led to the formation of a stable 2:1 (peptide:Ca2+) sandwich complex in agreement with earlier experimental observations on similar linear peptides. While the starting conformation of the peptide in the consecutive beta-turn structure allowed for the proper orientation of three carbonyl oxygen atoms for chelation to the metal ion, the dynamics of complex formation rearranged the peptide structure substantially, leading to the formation of an 8-coordinated Ca2+ complex in a dodecahedral spatial arrangement. Thus, based on the energetics of the structures and processes involved, the present study demonstrates that: a) peptide-Ca2+ complex formation is initiated by conformers adopting consecutive beta-turn structures which subsequently go over to a significantly different conformation found in the complex; and, b) The facile interconversion between the low-energy conformers in the different groups would help shift the equilibrium population towards the consecutive beta-turn structure during the complex formation.
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