The rate of exchange of peptide group NH hydrogens with the hydrogens of aqueous solvent is sensitive to neighboring side chains. To evaluate the effects of protein side chains, all 20 naturally occurring amino acids were studied using dipeptide models. Both inductive and steric blocking effects are apparent. The additivity of nearest-neighbor blocking and inductive effects was tested in oligo-and polypeptides and, suprisingly, confirmed. Reference rates for alanine-containing peptides were determined and effects of temperature considered. These results provide the information necessary to evaluate measured protein NH to ND exchange rates by comparing them with rates to be expected for the same amino acid sequence is unstructured aligo- and polypeptides. The application of this approach to protein studies is discussed. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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