Conformational preferences of an amyloidogenic peptide: IR spectroscopy of Ac-VQIVYK-NHMe

Timothy D. Vaden, Sally A.N. Gowers, Tjalling S.J.A. De Boer, Jeffrey D. Steill, Jos Oomens, Lavina C. Snoek

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39 Scopus citations


The 306VQIVYK311 sequence in the tau peptide is essential for the formation of intracellular amyloid fibrils related to Alzheimer's disease, where it forms interdigitating cross-β-structures. The inherent conformational preferences of the capped hexapeptide Ac-VQIVYK-NHMe were characterized in the gas phase. IR/UV double-resonance spectroscopy of the peptide isolated in a cold molecular beam was used to probe the conformation of the neutral peptide. The influence of protonation at the lysine side chain was investigated at 298 K by characterizing the protonated peptide ion, Ac-VQIVYK(H+)-NHMe, with IRMPD spectroscopy in the fingerprint and amide I/II band region in an FTICR mass spectrometer. The conformations for both neutral and protonated peptides were predicted by an extensive conformational search procedure followed by cluster analysis and then DFT calculations. Comparison of the experimental and computed IR spectra, with consideration of the relative energies, was used to assign the dominant conformations observed. The neutral peptide adopts a β-hairpin-like conformation with two loosely extended peptide chains, demonstrating the preference of the sequence for extended β-strand-like structures. In the protonated peptide, the lysine NH3+ disrupts this extended conformation by binding to the backbone and induces a transition to a random-coil-like structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14640-14650
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 5 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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