Solvent deuteration enhancement of hydrophobicity: DSC study of the inverse temperature transition of elastin-based polypeptides

Chi Hao Luan, Dan W. Urry*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    51 Scopus citations


    As previously shown, the polypentapeptide of elastin, (Val1-Pro2-Gly3-Val4-Gly 5)n or simply poly(VPGVG), undergoes an inverse temperature transition which is seen macroscopically as a phase separation with a dense viscoelastic phase of about 60% water, 40% peptide by weight and which is characterized molecularly by increase in intra- and intermolecular order as evidenced by formation of specific hydrophobic contacts. Furthermore, from an extensive study of polypentapeptides of the composition poly[fX(VPGXG), fV(VPGVG)], where fX + fV = 1 and X is any of the amino acid residues with apolar (hydrophobic) side chains, it has been shown that the temperature of the transition decreases and the heat of the transition increases with increased hydrophobicity. In the present paper differential scanning calorimetry has been utilized to determine the effect of D2O on the temperature and heats of the inverse temperature transitions for poly(VPGVG), poly(IPGVG), poly(LPGVG), and poly(VPAVG) and in the latter case in the presence of 0.5 and 1.0 N NaCl and of 1, 2, and 3 M urea. In all cases, the effect of D2O as compared to H2O is to lower the transition temperature about 2°C and to increase the heat of the transition about 10%, and this occurs also in the presence of NaCl, which itself lowers the temperature and increases the heat, and in the presence of urea, which itself raises the temperature and decreases the heat of the transition. It is concluded that the effect of replacement of H2O by D2O in these polypeptides is to effect a small but consistent increase in the expression of hydrophobicity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)7896-7900
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of physical chemistry
    Issue number20
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Engineering(all)
    • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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