Local and nonlocal environments around Cis peptides

J Proteome Res. 2008 Jan;7(1):145-53. doi: 10.1021/pr0704027. Epub 2007 Dec 13.


Although the vast majority of peptide bonds in folded proteins are found in the trans conformation, a small percentage are found in the less energetically favorable cis conformation. Though the mechanism of cis peptide bond formation remains unknown, the role of local aromatics has been emphasized in the literature. This paper presents results from a comprehensive statistical analysis of both the local and nonlocal (i.e., tertiary) environment around cis peptides. In addition to an increased frequency of aromatic residues in the local environment around cis peptides, a number of nonlocal differences in protein secondary and tertiary structure between cis and trans peptides are found: (i) coil regions containing cis peptides are almost twice as long as those without cis peptides and include more Tyr and Pro residues; (ii) cis peptides occur with high frequencies in coil regions near large beta-structures; (iii) there is a nonlocal enrichment of Cys, His, Tyr, and Ser in the tertiary environment surrounding cis peptides when compared to trans peptides; and (iv) on average, cis peptides make fewer medium-range and more long-range contacts than trans peptides do. On the basis of these observations, it is concluded that nonlocal factors play a significant role in cis peptide formation, which has not been fully appreciated previously. An autocatalytic model for cis peptide formation is discussed as are consequences for protein folding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Aromatic / chemistry
  • Isomerism
  • Models, Statistical
  • Molecular Structure
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Folding*


  • Amino Acids, Aromatic
  • Peptides