The Ramachandran plots of glycine and pre-proline
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BMC Structural Biology 2005, 5:14 doi:10.1186/1472-6807-5-14Published: 16 August 2005
The Ramachandran plot is a fundamental tool in the analysis of protein structures. Of the 4 basic types of Ramachandran plots, the interactions that determine the generic and proline Ramachandran plots are well understood. The interactions of the glycine and pre-proline Ramachandran plots are not.
In glycine, the ψ angle is typically clustered at ψ = 180° and ψ = 0°. We show that these clusters correspond to conformations where either the Ni+1 or O atom is sandwiched between the two Hα atoms of glycine. We show that the shape of the 5 distinct regions of density (the α, αL, βS, βP and βPR regions) can be reproduced with electrostatic dipole-dipole interactions. In pre-proline, we analyse the origin of the ζ region of the Ramachandran plot, a region unique to pre-proline. We show that it is stabilized by a COi-1···CδHδi+1 weak hydrogen bond. This is analogous to the COi-1···NHi+1 hydrogen bond that stabilizes the γ region in the generic Ramachandran plot.
We have identified the specific interactions that affect the backbone of glycine and pre-proline. Knowledge of these interactions will improve current force-fields, and help understand structural motifs containing these residues.