Water-Solubilized, Cap-Stabilized, Helical Polyalanines:  Calibration Standards for NMR and CD Analyses

NMR and CD studies are reported for two length series of solubilized, spaced, highly helical polyalanines that are N-capped by the optimal helix stabilizer βAsp-Hel and C-capped by β-aminoalanine beta and that are studied in water at 2 °C, pH 1−8. NMR analysis yields a structural characterization of the peptide AcβAspHelAla8betaNH2 and selected members of one βAspHelAlanbeta series. At pH > 4.5 the βAspHel cap provides a preorganized triad of carboxylate anion and two amide residues that is complementary to the helical polyalanine N-terminus. The C-terminal β-aminoalanine assumes a helix-stabilizing conformation consistent with literature precedents. H(N)CO NMR experiments applied to capped, uniformly 13C- and 15N-labeled Ala8 and Ala12 peptides define Alan hydrogen bonding signatures as α-helical without detectable 310 character. Relative NH→ND exchange rates yield site protection factors PFi that define uniquely high fractional helicities FH for the peptide Alan regions. These Alan calibration series, studied in water and lacking helix-stabilizing tertiary structure, yield the first 13C NMR chemical shifts, 3JHNHα coupling constants, and CD ellipticities [θMolar]λ,n characteristic of a fully helical alanine within an Alan context. CD data are used to assign parameters X and [θ]λ,, required for rigorous calculation of FH values from CD ellipticities.