Folding of a tryptophan zipper peptide investigated on the basis of the nuclear Overhauser effect and thermal denaturation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Short, secondary-structure-containing peptides are suitable models for the study of protein folding due to their relative simplicity. Here, we investigate thermal denaturation of the tryptophan zipper peptide, trpzip4, a peptide that forms a -hairpin in solution. In order to monitor the thermal denaturation of peptides or small proteins, chemical shift values of H() or H(N) may be used. However, various factors other than secondary structure can influence chemical shift values, such as side-chain orientation of nearby aromatic residues. Nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) intensity from backbone interproton cross peaks is an alternative way to study thermal denaturation, as long as various factors that give rise to a change in NOE intensity upon changing the temperature are considered. As a relative indicator for denaturation, we define a cutoff temperature, where half of the initial NOE intensity is lost for each backbone interproton cross peak. For trpzip4, this cutoff temperature is highest for residues in the central part of the structure and lowest for residues near the termini. These observations support the notion that the structure of the trpzip4 peptide is stabilized by a hydrophobic cluster formed by tryptophan residues located in the central region of the -hairpin.

published proceedings

  • J Phys Chem B

author list (cited authors)

  • Hwang, S., & Hilty, C.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Hwang, Soyoun||Hilty, Christian

publication date

  • January 2011