Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 18177032
J Phys Chem B 2008 Jan;112(4):1282-9
Circular dichroism (CD) and Raman scattering were applied to the aqueous solution of minimalist LK peptides constructed with successive KL repeats leading to the following generic primary sequence: (KL)nK. Three peptides of this family, a 3-mer (n=1), a 9-mer (n=4), and a 15-mer (n=7), are analyzed in this report. Raman spectra of the 3-mer (KLK, a random chain) and its labile-hydrogen deuterated species yield a set of interesting information for analyzing longer peptides of this series. Although the CD spectrum of the 9-mer (KLKLKLKLK) reveals a signal traditionally assigned to a random structure, the corresponding Raman spectrum allows finding a mixture of conformations in solution, adopting predominantly beta-type structures. This fact proves the utility of Raman spectroscopy to eliminate eventual ambiguity concerning conformational assignments in peptides based only on the use of CD technique. Finally, the 15-mer (KLKLKLKLKLKLKLK) gives rise to CD and Raman spectra clearly assignable to a beta-type structure. On the basis of all the observed results on the 15-mer, we can confirm that this peptide may exist as isolated beta-strands at low concentration (sub-micromolar), flat-oriented at the air/water interface, whereas at high concentrations (millimolar), non-H-bonded immersible aggregates might be formed. A hypothetical model for these beta-strand aggregates could be proposed as stabilized by an interior hydrophobic core and a hydrophilic external face, formed by leucine and lysine side chains, respectively.