Peptides comprising many hydrophobic amino acids are almost insoluble under physiological buffer conditions, which complicates their structural analysis. To investigate the three-dimensional structure of the hydrophobic leucinostatin derivative ZHAWOC6027, the previously developed host lattice display technology was applied. Two designed ankyrin-repeat proteins (DARPins) recognizing a biotinylated ZHAWOC6027 derivative were selected from a diverse library by ribosome display under aqueous buffer conditions. ZHAWOC6027 was immobilized by means of the DARPin in the host lattice and the structure of the complex was determined by X-ray diffraction. ZHAWOC6027 adopts a distorted α-helical conformation. Comparison with the structures of related compounds that have been determined in organic solvents reveals elevated flexibility of the termini, which might be functionally important.
Keywords: crystal engineering; host lattice display; leucinostatins.