Conformational study of [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe in the presence of phosphatidylserine vesicles

Maria D'Alagni, Maurizio Delfini, Alfredo Di Nola, Moises Eisenberg, Maurizio Paci, L. Giorgio Roda, Gianluigi Veglia

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The interaction of [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe with phosphatidylserine (PtdSer) was studied by circular dichroism (CD), two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, hybrid distance geometry simulated annealing (DG-SA) and molecular dynamics (MD) calculations. The very low solubility of [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe and the instability of the solution containing PtdSer vesicles at low pH values did not allow us to observe the amide proton resonances in the usual two-dimensional NMR work. NOESY cross-peaks of protons of side chains from two-dimensional NMR were converted into distances which were used as restraints for modelling with DG-SA and MD. Our results indicate that, in aqueous solutions at pH 7.68 [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe exists in the absence of PtdSer as a random distribution of conformers, whereas in the presence of PtdSer it adopts conformations containing a common orientation of the bonds of Cα2, Cα3, Cα4 and Cα5, although different orientations of the peptide planes are consistent with the results. Two of the reported conformers from MD simulations are characterized by the presence of a 2 ← 4 γ and inverse γ turns centered on Gly3. A gradual decline of order was observed when moving from the central moiety of the peptide to both the N-terminus and C-terminus. Finally, the DG-SA and MD calculations resulted in a structure such that the orientation of the Phe4 and Met5 side chains favours hydrophobic interactions with the apolar portion of the PtdSer vesicle to form a hydrophobic cluster. These data support the hypothesis of a role of lipids to modify the conformation of [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe to permit the interactions with the receptor site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-549
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Distance geometry
  • Molecular dynamics calculation
  • NMR
  • Phosphatidylserine vesicle
  • [Met5]enkephalin-Arg-Phe


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