A helix-turn motif in the C-terminal domain of histone H1

Roger Vila, Imma Ponte, M. Angeles Jiménez, Manuel Rico, Pedro Suau

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41 Citations (Scopus)


The structural study of peptides belonging to the terminal domains of histone H1 can be considered as a step toward the understanding of the function of H1 in chromatin. The conformational properties of the peptide Ac- EPKRSVAFKKT KKEVKKVATPKK (CH-1), which belongs to the C-terminal domain of histone H1°(residues 99-121) and is adjacent to the central globular domain of the protein, were examined by means of 1H-NMR and circular dichroism. In aqueous solution, CH-1 behaved as a mainly unstructured peptide, although turn-like conformations in rapid equilibrium with the unfolded state could be present. Addition of trifluoroethanol resulted in a substantial increase of the helical content. The helical limits, as indicated by (i,i + 3) nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) cross correlations and significant up-field conformational shifts of the C(α) protons, span from Pro100 to Val116, with Glu99 and Ala117 as N- and C-caps. A structure calculation performed on the basis of distance constraints derived from NOE cross peaks in 90% trifluoroethanol confirmed the helical structure of this region. The helical region has a marked amphipathic character, due to the location of all positively charged residues on one face of the helix and all the hydrophobic residues on the opposite face. The peptide has a TPKK motif at the C- terminus, following the α-helical region. The observed NOE connectivities suggest that the TPKK sequence adopts a type (I) β-turn conformation, a σ- turn conformation or a combination of both, in fast equilibrium with unfolded states. Sequences of the kind (S/T)P(K/R)(K/R) have been proposed as DNA binding motifs. The CH-1 peptide, thus, combines a positively charged amphipathic helix and a turn as potential DNA-binding motifs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-636
JournalProtein Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2000


  • C-terminal domain
  • Circular dichroism
  • Helix-turn motif
  • Histone Hi
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance


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