Product(s) used in this publication: Reference Peptides for Targeted Proteomics - SpikeTides™ & SpikeMix™
Capping rules, which govern interactions of helical peptides with hydrophobic surfaces, were never established before due to lack of methods for the direct measurement of polypeptide structure on the interphase boundary. We employed proteomic techniques and peptide retention modeling in reversed-phase chromatography to generate a data set sufficient for amino acid population analysis at helix ends. We found that interactions of amphipathic helical peptides with a hydrophobic C18 phase are induced by a unique motif featuring hydrophobic residues in the N1 and N2 positions adjacent to the N-cap (Asn, Asp, Ser, Thr, Gly), followed by Glu, Gln, or Asp in position N3 to complete a capping box. A favorable N-capping arrangement prior to amphipathic helix may result in the highest hydrophobicity (retention on C18 columns) of Asp/Asn (or Glu/Gln) peptide analogues among all naturally occurring amino acids when placed in N-cap or N3 position, respectively. These results contradict all previously reported hydrophobicity scales and provide new insights into our understanding of the phenomenon of hydrophobic interactions.