Structures of dipeptides: the head-to-tail story.

Research paper by Carl Henrik CH Görbitz

Indexed on: 27 Jan '10Published on: 27 Jan '10Published in: Acta Crystallographica Section B


The hydrogen-bonding patterns in crystal structures of unprotected, zwitterionic dipeptides are dominated by head-to-tail chains involving the N-terminal amino groups and the C-terminal carboxylate groups. Patterns that include two concomitant chains, thus generating a hydrogen-bonded layer, are of special interest. A comprehensive survey shows that dipeptide structures can conveniently be divided into only four distinct patterns, differing by definition in the symmetry of the head-to-tail chains and amide hydrogen-bonding type, but also in other properties such as peptide conformation and the propensity to include solvent water or various organic guest molecules. Upon crystallization, the choice of pattern for a specific dipeptide is not random, but follows from the amino acid sequence.