CisTrans Conformational Analysis of δ‑Azaproline in Peptides

The cis–trans isomerization and conformer specificity of δ-azaproline and its carbamate-protected form in linear and cyclic peptides were investigated using NMR and α-chymotrypsin assay. Comparisons of the chemical shift value of the α-hydrogen in each case of δ-azaproline-containing peptides with conformer-specific locked diketopiperazines reveal the fact that an upfield chemical shift value corresponds to cis conformer and a downfield value corresponds to a trans conformer. δ-Azaproline adopts cis-conformation in simple amides, dipeptides, and tripeptides whereas its carbamate-protected form adopts trans-conformation. In the case of longer, linear or cyclic peptides, vice versa results are obtained. Interestingly, in all these peptides exclusively one conformer, either cis or trans, is stabilized. This cis–trans isomerization is independent of both temperature and solvents; only the δ-nitrogen protecting group plays key role in the isomerization. δ-Azaproline is conformer-specific in either of its protected or deprotected forms, which is a unique property of this proline. Unlike other covalently modified proline surrogates, this isomerization of δ-azaproline can be tuned easily by a protecting group. The mechanism of cis–trans isomerization of δ-azaproline during deprotection and reprotection is supported by theoretical calculations.