U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Main content area

Heterochiral Knottin Protein: Folding and Solution Structure

Mong, Surin K., Cochran, Frank V., Yu, Hongtao, Graziano, Zachary, Lin, Yu-Shan, Cochran, Jennifer R., Pentelute, Bradley L.
Biochemistry 2017 v.56 no.43 pp. 5720-5725
Ecballium elaterium, Gibbs free energy, beta-alanine, molecular dynamics, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, optical isomerism, proteolysis, scaffolding proteins, trypsin inhibitors
Homochirality is a general feature of biological macromolecules, and Nature includes few examples of heterochiral proteins. Herein, we report on the design, chemical synthesis, and structural characterization of heterochiral proteins possessing loops of amino acids of chirality opposite to that of the rest of a protein scaffold. Using the protein Ecballium elaterium trypsin inhibitor II, we discover that selective β-alanine substitution favors the efficient folding of our heterochiral constructs. Solution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of one such heterochiral protein reveals a homogeneous global fold. Additionally, steered molecular dynamics simulation indicate β-alanine reduces the free energy required to fold the protein. We also find these heterochiral proteins to be more resistant to proteolysis than homochiral l-proteins. This work informs the design of heterochiral protein architectures containing stretches of both d- and l-amino acids.