We have assessed the hydropathic nature, secondary structure, and flexibility of endothelin and report a testable model for the structure of this 21-amino acid vasoconstrictor peptide. The proposed model consists of a rigid (disulfide bonded), hydrophilic amino-terminal half of the molecule with two turns, and an extended hydrophobic sheet structure comprising the C-terminal half of the molecule. The extended structure may be stabilized by intermolecular hydrogen bonding, leading to dimers or higher order aggregates, and is hydrophobic enough to partition into an organic solvent such as ether, as long as the molecule can keep its hydrophilic amino terminus in an aqueous phase. To test this model, partitioning measurements were made on bioactive synthetic endothelin. It was found to partition at the interface of an ether/water system in a concentration- and surface area-dependent manner. A further indication as to the amphipathic nature of the molecule is that microcrystals of synthetic endothelin tend to grow at an organic-aqueous interface in a two-phase system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|State||Published - 1989|
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