Investigating diproline segments in proteins: Occurrences, conformation and classification


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The covalent linkage between the side-chain and the backbone nitrogen atom of proline leads to the formation of the five-membered pyrrolidine ring and hence restriction of the backbone torsional angle ϕ to values of −60 °± 30° for the L-proline. Diproline segments constitute a chain fragment with considerably reduced conformational choices. In the current study, the conformational states for the diproline segment (LPro-LPro) found in proteins has been investigated with an emphasis on the cis and trans states for the Pro-Pro peptide bond. The occurrence of diproline segments in turns and other secondary structures has been studied and compared to that of Xaa-Pro-Yaa segments in proteins which gives us a better understanding on the restriction imposed on other residues by the diproline segment and the single proline residue. The study indicates that PII–PII and PII–α are the most favorable conformational states for the diproline segment. The analysis on Xaa-Pro-Yaa sequences reveals that the Xaa-Pro peptide bond exists preferably as the trans conformer rather than the cis conformer. The present study may lead to a better understanding of the behavior of proline occurring in diproline segments which can facilitate various designed diproline-based synthetic templates for biological and structural studies. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers 97: 54–64, 2012.