A series of three molecular dynamics simulations at 300 K in explicit solvent environments of chloroform, methanol and water has been performed on the pulmonary surfactant lipoprotein, SP-C, comprising several consecutive valine residues in order to investigate the stability of the α-helical conformation. Two additional simulations were performed on truncated SP-C with a five-residue N-terminal deletion at 300 K and 500 K in water, the high temperature run in order to increase the rate of peptide denaturation. Indications of destabilization appear in chloroform during 1 ns while the SP-C α-helix is remarkably stable during 1 ns in methanol and water. In particular the polyvalyl part comprising residues Val15 to Val21 remains intact even at elevated temperature, and the valines do no disrupt the α-helical conformation. The valyl-rotamer sampling is partly restricted. Unfolding takes place successively along the primary sequence starting from the C-terminal end. Factors affecting polypeptide stability in molecular dynamics simulations are addressed. The intrinsic helix-forming tendency of valine residues and its dependence on the sequence context, and the role of the solvent environment in stabilizing or destabilizing an α-helical fold, are discussed.
Journal of Molecular Biology – Elsevier
Published: Apr 7, 1995
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