The ganglioside GM1-binding peptide, p3, with a sequence of VWRLLAPPFSNRLLP, displayed a clear structural alteration depending on the presence or absence of GM1 micelles. The three-dimensional structures of the p3 peptide in the free and GM1 bound states were analyzed using two-dimensional NMR spectroscopic experiments with distance-restrained simulated annealing calculations. The NMR experiments for the p3 peptide alone indicated that the peptide has two conformers derived from the exchange of cis and trans forms at Pro7-Pro8. Further study with theoretical modeling revealed that the p3 peptide has a curb conformation without regular secondary structure. On the other hand, the NMR studies for the p3 peptide with the GM1 micelles elucidated a trans conformer and gave a structure stabilized by hydrophobic interactions of β- and helical turns. Based on these structural investigations, tryptophan, a core residue of the hydrophobic cluster, might be an essential residue for the recognition of the GM1 saccharides. The dynamic transition of the p3 peptide may play an important role in the function of GM1 as a multiple receptor as in the traditional pathway of the infection by cholera toxin.
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