Chlorotoxin (CTX) is a 36–amino acid peptide with eight Cys residues that forms four disulfide bonds. It has high affinity for the glioma-specific chloride channel and matrix metalloprotease-2. Structural and binding properties of CTX analogs with various Cys residue substitutions with L-α-aminobutyric acid (Abu) have been previously reported. Using 4.2 µs molecular dynamics, we compared the conformational and essential space sampling of CTX and analogs with selective substitution of the Cys residues and associated disulfide bonds with either Abu or Ser. The native and substituted peptides maintained a high degree of α-helix propensity from residues 8 through 21, with the exception of substitution of the Cys5 –Cys28 residues with Ser and the Cys16 –Cys33 residues with Abu. In agreement with previous circular dichroism spectropolarimetry results, the C-terminal β-sheet content varied less from residues 25 through 29 and 32 through 36 and was well conserved in most analogs. The Cys16 –Cys33 and Cys20 –Cys35 disulfide-bonded residues appear to be required to maintain the αβ motif of CTX. Selective substitution with the hydrophilic Ser, may mitigate the destabilizing effect of Cys16 –Cys33 substitution through the formation of an inter residue H-bond from Ser16:OγH to Ser33:OγH bridged by a water molecule. All peptides shared considerable sampled conformational space, which explains the retained receptor binding of the non-native analogs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry