Leucine side-chain rotamers in a glycophorin A transmembrane peptide as revealed by three-bond carbon-carbon couplings and 13C chemical shifts

J Biomol NMR. 1996 May;7(3):256-60. doi: 10.1007/BF00202043.


We have used a spin-echo difference NMR pulse sequence to measure three-bond J couplings between lambda- and alpha-carbons of the leucine residues in a micelle-associated helical peptide dimer that corresponds to residues 62-101 of the transmembrane erythrocyte protein glycophorin A. The observed 3J couplings correlate strongly with the 13C chemical shift of the lambda-methyl groups, and within experimental error both the shift distribution of the methyl carbons and the variations in 3J can be accounted for by variations in side-chain rotamer populations. We infer that all leucine side chains in this peptide dimer are in fast exchange among chi 2 rotamers and sample two of the three possible rotameric states, even when the side chain forms part of the dimer interface. The observed correlation of chemical shift with couplings can be traced to a gamma-gauche interaction of methyl and alpha-carbons. This correlation may provide an alternate route to rotamer analysis in some protein systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Glycophorins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Leucine / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Micelles
  • Molecular Structure
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Glycophorins
  • Micelles
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Leucine