Conformation and dynamics of human urotensin II and urotensin related peptide in aqueous solution

Elke Haensele, Nawel Mele, Marija Miljak, Christopher M Read, David C. Whitley, Lee Banting, Carla Delepee, Jana Sopková-de Oliveira Santos, Alban Lepailleur, Ronan Bureau, Jonathan W. Essex, Timothy Clark

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Conformation and dynamics of the vasoconstrictive peptides human urotensin-II (UII) and urotensin related peptide (URP) have been investigated by both unrestrained and enhanced-sampling molecular-dynamics (MD) simulations and NMR spectroscopy. These peptides are natural ligands of the G-protein coupled urotensin II receptor (UTR) and have been linked to mammalian pathophysiology. UII and URP cannot be characterized by a single structure but exist as an equilibrium of two main classes of ring-conformations, open and folded, with rapidly interchanging subtypes . The open states are characterized by turns of various types centered at K8Y9 or F6W7 predominantly with no or only sparsely populated transannular hydrogen bonds. The folded conformations show multiple turns stabilized by highly populated transannular hydrogen bonds comprising centers F6W7K8 or W7K8Y9. Some of these conformations have not been characterized previously. The equilibrium populations that are experimentally difficult to access were estimated by replica-exchange MD simulations and validated by comparison of experimental NMR data with chemical shifts calculated with density-functional theory. UII exhibits approximately 72% open : 28% folded conformations in aqueous solution. URP shows very similar ring conformations as UII but differs in an open:folded equilibrium shifted further towards open conformations (86:14) possibly arising from the absence of folded N-terminal tail - ring interaction. The results suggest that the different biological effects of UII and URP are not caused by differences in ring-conformations but rather by different interactions with UTR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-310
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modelling
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2017


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