Molecular dynamics study of structure and stability of a model coiled coil.Proteins. 1993 Aug; 16(4):384-92.P
This paper employs methods used earlier to study helix propensity in a model alpha-helix. The methods are extended to simulations of a motif structure of the alpha-helical coiled coil, i.e., a structure with a simple amino acid sequence, containing only alanine, leucine, and valine, with leucine and valine forming hydrophobic contacts in the helix interface (positions "d" and "a"). Dynamic simulations of the model coiled-coil structure reproduce characteristic features of the coiled-coil motif seen in experimental studies. Free energy simulations were used to assess the change in stability of the model when a leucine pair or a valine pair in the helix interface was replaced with an alanine pair. A leucine pair at position d was found to contribute 3.4 kcal/mol to the stability of the coiled coil relative to an alanine pair, and a valine pair at position a was found to contribute 0.8 kcal/mol relative to an alanine pair. The value for the leucine pair agrees with reports in two experimental studies with molecules having different amino sequence. The value for the valine pair is reasonable given the smaller size of the valine side chain and the intrinsic low helix propensity of valine. No experimental value was available for comparison.