Introduction: Non-enzymatic glycation of proteins has been implicated in various diabetic complications and age-related disorders. Proteins undergo glycation at the N-terminus or at the ε-amino group of lysine residues. The observation that only a fraction of all lysine residues undergo glycation indicates the role of the immediate chemical environment in the glycation reaction. Here we have constructed helical peptide models, which juxtapose lysine with potentially catalytic residues in order to probe their roles in the individual steps of the glycation reaction. Results: The peptides investigated in this study are constrained to adopt helical conformations allowing residues in the i and i+4 positions to come into spatial proximity, while residues i and i+2 are far apart. The placing of aspartic acid and histidine residues at interacting positions with lysine modulates the steps involved in early peptide glycation (reversible Schiff base formation and its subsequent irreversible conversion to a ketoamine product, the Amadori rearrangement). Proximal positioning of aspartic acid or histidine with respect to the reactive lysine residue retards initial Schiff base formation. On the contrary, aspartic acid promotes catalysis of the Amadori rearrangement. Presence of the strongly basic residue arginine proximate to lysine favorably affects the pKa of both the lysine ε-amino group and the singly glycated lysine, aiding in the formation of doubly glycated species. The Amadori product also formed carboxymethyl lysine, an advanced glycation endproduct (AGE), in a time-dependent manner. Conclusions: Stereochemically defined peptide scaffolds are convenient tools for studying near neighbor effects on the reactivity of functional amino acid sidechains. The present study utilizes stereochemically defined peptide helices to effectively demonstrate that aspartic acid is an efficient catalytic residue in the Amadori arrangement. The results emphasize the structural determinants of Schiff base and Amadori product formation in the final accumulation of glycated peptides. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Venkatraman, J., Aggarwal, K., & Balaram, P. (2001). Helical peptide models for protein glycation: Proximity effects in catalysis of the Amadori rearrangement. Chemistry and Biology, 8(7), 611–625. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1074-5521(01)00036-9