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Structural Basis for Aza-Glycine Stabilization of Collagen

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journal contribution
posted on 26.06.2017 by Alexander J. Kasznel, Yitao Zhang, Yang Hai, David M. Chenoweth
Previously, we have demonstrated that replacement of the strictly conserved glycine in collagen with aza-glycine provides a general solution for stabilizing triple helical collagen peptides (Chenoweth, D. M.; et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 9751; 2015, 137, 12422). The additional hydrogen bond and conformational constraints provided by aza-glycine increases the thermal stability and rate of folding in collagen peptides composed of Pro-Hyp-Gly triplet repeats, allowing for truncation to the smallest self-assembling peptide systems observed to date. Here we show that aza-glycine substitution enhances the stability of an arginine-containing collagen peptide and provide a structural basis for this stabilization with an atomic resolution crystal structure. These results demonstrate that a single nitrogen atom substitution for a glycine alpha-carbon increases the peptide’s triple helix melting temperature by 8.6 °C. Furthermore, we provide the first structural basis for stabilization of triple helical collagen peptides containing aza-glycine and we demonstrate that minimal alteration to the peptide backbone conformation occurs with aza-glycine incorporation.