De novo design of a stable N-terminal helical foldamer

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A peptide NTH-18 was synthesized in which a N-terminal helix is stabilised by two crossed disulfide bonds to a C-terminal extension. The design was inspired by the structure of the neurotoxic peptide apamin, which has previously been used to stabilise helices in miniature enzymes. CD- and NMR-spectroscopy indicated that NTH-18 adopted a fold similar to that found in apamin. However, the arrangement of the elements of secondary structures was inverted relative to apamin; a N-terminal alpha-helix was connected by a reverse turn to a C-terminal extension of non-canonical secondary structure. NTH-18 displayed significant stability to heat and changes of pH. The high definition of the N-terminal end of the alpha-helix of NTH-18 should make this peptide a useful vehicle to stabilise alpha-helices in proteins with applications in protein engineering and molecular recognition.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4310-4315
Number of pages6
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005