Photochemical and structural studies on cyclic peptide models

Tamás Milán Nagy, Krisztina Knapp, Eszter Illyés, István Timári, Gitta Schlosser, Gabriella Csík, Attila Borics, Zsuzsa Majer, Katalin E. Kövér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Ultra-violet (UV) irradiation has a significant impact on the structure and function of proteins that is supposed to be in relationship with the tryptophan-mediated photolysis of disulfide bonds. To investigate the correlation between the photoexcitation of Trp residues in polypeptides and the associated reduction of disulfide bridges, a series of small, cyclic oligopeptide models were analyzed in this work. Average distances between the aromatic side chains and the disulfide bridge were determined following molecular mechanics (MM) geometry optimizations. In this way, the possibility of cation–π interactions was also investigated. Molecular mechanics calculations revealed that the shortest distance between the side chain of the Trp residues and the disulfide bridge is approximately 5 Å in the cyclic pentapeptide models. Based on this, three tryptophan-containing cyclopeptide models were synthesized and analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Experimental data and detailed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were in good agreement with MM geometry calculations. Selected model peptides were subjected to photolytic degradation to study the correlation of structural features and the photolytic cleavage of disulfide bonds in solution. Formation of free sulfhydryl groups upon illumination with near UV light was monitored by fluorescence spectroscopy after chemical derivatization with 7-diethylamino-3-(4-maleimidophenyl)-4-methylcoumarin (CPM) and mass spectrometry. Liquid cromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) measurements indicated the presence of multiple photooxidation products (e.g., dimers, multimers and other oxidated products), suggesting that besides the photolysis of disulfide bonds secondary photolytic processes take place.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2196
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 30 2018


  • Cyclopeptides
  • Disulfide bridges
  • MD
  • NMR
  • Photolysis
  • UV irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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