Hydrophobic interactions in the formation of secondary structures in small peptides

Cristiano L. Dias, Mikko Karttunen, Hue Sun Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Effects of the attractive and repulsive parts of hydrophobic interactions on α helices and β sheets in small peptides are investigated using a simple atomic potential. Typically, a physical spatial range of attraction tends to favor β sheets, but α helices would be favored if the attractive range were more extended. We also found that desolvation barriers favor β sheets in collapsed conformations of polyalanine, polyvaline, polyleucine, and three fragments of amyloid peptides tested in this study. Our results provide insight into the multifaceted role of hydrophobicity in secondary structure formation, including the α to β transitions in certain amyloid peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041931
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 25 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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