Thermodynamics and kinetics of aggregation for the GNNQQNY peptide

J Am Chem Soc. 2007 Dec 26;129(51):16005-14. doi: 10.1021/ja075346p. Epub 2007 Dec 4.


The energy landscape of the monomer and dimer are explored for the amyloidogenic heptapeptide GNNQQNY from the N-terminal prion-determining domain of the yeast protein Sup35. The peptide is modeled by a united-atom potential and an implicit solvent representation. Replica exchange molecular dynamics is used to explore the conformational space, and discrete path sampling is employed to investigate the pathways that interconvert the most populated minima on the free energy surfaces. For the monomer, we find a rapid fluctuation between four different conformations, where a geometry intermediate between compact and extended structures is the most thermodynamically favorable. The GNNQQNY dimer forms three stable sheet structures, namely in-register parallel, off-register parallel, and antiparallel. The antiparallel dimer is stabilized by strong electrostatic interactions resulting from interpeptide hydrogen bonds, which restrict its conformational flexibility. The in-register parallel dimer, which is close to the amyloid beta-sheet structure, has fewer interpeptide hydrogen bonds, making hydrophobic interactions more important and increasing the conformational entropy compared to the antiparallel sheet. The estimated two-state rate constants indicate that the formation of dimers from monomers is fast and that the dimers are kinetically stable against dissociation at room temperature. Interconversions between the different dimers are feasible processes and are more likely than dissociation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Kinetics
  • Oligopeptides / chemistry*
  • Thermodynamics*


  • Oligopeptides