Chiral effects on helicity studied via the energy landscape of short (d, l)-alanine peptides

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The homochirality of natural amino acids facilitates the formation of regular secondary structures such as α-helices and β-sheets. Here, we study the relationship between chirality and backbone structure for the example of hexa-alanine. The most stable stereoisomers are identified through global optimisation. Further, the energy landscape, a database of connected low-energy local minima and transition points, is constructed for various neutral and zwitterionic stereoisomers of hexa-alanine. Three order parameters for partial helicity are applied and metric disconnectivity graphs are presented with partial helicity as a metric. We also apply the Zimm-Bragg model to derive average partial helicities for Ace-(l-Ala)6-NHMe, Ace-(d-Ala-l-Ala)3-NHMe, and Ace-(l-Ala)3-(d-Ala)3-NHMe from the database of local minima and compare with previous studies.


Original languageEnglish
Article number165103
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2015