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Design and conformational analysis of peptoids containing N-hydroxy amides reveals a unique sheet-like secondary structure


  • This article was originally published online as an accepted preprint. The “Published Online” date corresponds to the preprint version. You can request a copy of the preprint by emailing the Biopolymers editorial office at


N-hydroxy amides can be found in many naturally occurring and synthetic compounds and are known to act as both strong proton donors and chelators of metal cations. We have initiated studies of peptoids, or N-substituted glycines which contain N-hydroxy amide side chains to investigate the potential effects of these functional groups on peptoid backbone amide rotamer equilibria and local conformations. We reasoned that the propensity of these functional groups to participate in hydrogen bonding could be exploited to enforce intramolecular or intermolecular interactions that yield new peptoid structures. Here, we report the design, synthesis, and detailed conformational analysis of a series of model N-hydroxy peptoids. These peptoids were readily synthesized, and their structures were analyzed in solution by 1D and 2D NMR and in the solid-state by X-ray crystallography. The N-hydroxy amides were found to strongly favor trans conformations with respect to the peptoid backbone in chloroform. More notably, unique sheet-like structures held together via intermolecular hydrogen bonds were observed in the X-ray crystal structures of an N-hydroxy amide peptoid dimer, which to our knowledge represent the first structure of this type reported for peptoids. These results suggest that the N-hydroxy amide can be utilized to control both local backbone geometries and longer-range intermolecular interactions in peptoids, and represents a new functional group in the peptoid design toolbox. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers (Pept Sci) 96: 604–616, 2011.