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Sensitivity of 2D IR Spectra to Peptide Helicity: A Concerted Experimental and Simulation Study of an Octapeptide

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We have investigated the sensitivity of two-dimensional infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy to peptide helicity with an experimental and theoretical study of Z-[l-(alphaMe)Val](8)-OtBu in CDCl(3). 2D IR experiments were carried out in the amide-I region under the parallel and the double-crossed polarization configurations. In the latter polarization configuration, the 2D spectra taken with the rephasing and nonrephasing pulse sequences exhibit a doublet feature and a single peak, respectively. These cross-peak patterns are highly sensitive to the underlying peptide structure. Spectral calculations were performed on the basis of a vibrational exciton model, with the local mode frequencies and couplings calculated from snapshots of molecular dynamics (MD) simulation trajectories using six different models for the Hamiltonian. Conformationally variant segments of the MD trajectory, while reproducing the main features of the experimental spectra, are characterized by extraneous features, suggesting that the structural ensembles sampled by the simulation are too broad. By imposing periodic restraints on the peptide dihedral angles with the crystal structure as a reference, much better agreement between the measured and the calculated spectra was achieved. The result indicates that the structure of Z-[l-(alphaMe)Val](8)-OtBu in CDCl(3) is a fully developed 3(10)-helix with only a small fraction of alpha-helical or nonhelical conformations in the middle of the peptide. Of the four different combinations of pulse sequences and polarization configurations, the nonrephasing double-crossed polarization 2D IR spectrum exhibits the highest sensitivity in detecting conformational variation. Of the six local mode frequency models tested, the electrostatic maps of Mukamel and Cho perform the best. Our results show that the high sensitivity of 2D IR spectroscopy can provide a useful basis for developing methods to improve the sampling accuracy of force fields and for characterizing the relative merits of the different protocols for the Hamiltonian calculation.

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