To investigate a human folding disease, NMR studies were carried out on collagen-like peptides to define the structural consequences of a single amino acid change found in patients with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a disease characterized by fragile bones. One peptide included a normal collagen sequence, while a second peptide included a Gly → Ser substitution as found in a nonlethal case of OI. Residue specific internal dynamics and conformational studies indicate that the normal collagen-like sequence forms a triple helix which is rigid along its entire length. The introduction of a Gly → Ser substitution induces an asymmetric disruption of the uniform triple helix. While the C-terminal end of the peptide retains the triple helix, the Ser substitution site and residues N-terminal to it exhibit the mobility of a random chain. This equilibrium state indicates that a Gly substitution can terminate the C to N propagation of the triple helix and suggests that renucleation is required for folding to continue. Defective folding has been implicated in brittle bone disease, and these results begin to characterize the folding process in OI collagens. OI collagen studies may also provide insights about defective protein folding, assembly, and aggregation in other human diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes