Do parallel beta-helix proteins have a unique fourier transform infrared spectrum?
Several polypeptides have been found to adopt an unusual domain structure known as the parallel beta-helix. These domains are characterized by parallel beta-strands, three of which form a single parallel beta-helix coil, and lead to long, extended beta-sheets. We have used ATR-FTIR (attenuated total reflectance-fourier transform infrared spectroscopy) to analyze the secondary structure of representative examples of this class of protein. Because the three-dimensional structures of parallel beta-helix proteins are unique, we initiated this study to determine if there was a corresponding unique FTIR signal associated with the parallel beta-helix conformation. Analysis of the amide I region, emanating from the carbonyl stretch vibration, reveals a strong absorbance band at 1638 cm(-1) in each of the parallel beta-helix proteins. This band is assigned to the parallel beta-sheet structure. However, components at this frequency are also commonly observed for beta-sheets in many classes of globular proteins. Thus we conclude that there is no unique infrared signature for parallel beta-helix structure. Additional contributions in the 1638 cm(-1) region, and at lower frequencies, were ascribed to hydrogen bonding between the coils in the loop/turn regions and amide side-chain interactions, respectively. A 13-residue peptide that forms fibrils and has been proposed to form beta-helical structure was also examined, and its FTIR spectrum was compared to that of the parallel beta-helix proteins.