Folding of EK peptide and its dependence on salt concentration and pH: A computational study

Ye Mei, Dawei Zhang, Lili Duan, Qinggang Zhang, John Zenghui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we apply both pairwise AMBER03 force field and the recently developed polarized force field to study the folding process of EK peptide under various ion strength and pH conditions. The polarized force field is based on our newly proposed adaptive hydrogen bond-specific charge (AHBC) scheme. These two force fields differ only by the atomic charges. Solvent effect is described with generalized Born models (IGB5 in AMBER 10 package). The result shows that although when applying AMBER03 charge, the helical structure is preferred, its dependence on salt concentration and pH is qualitatively wrong. While using AHBC the peptide finds its native structure within 10 ns, and then fluctuates around this folded state. Under high salt concentration or extreme pH conditions the calculated helical structure probability drops, which is in qualitative agreement with the experiment. Analysis of the atomic charges and the interaction between the donor-acceptor pair in main hydrogen bonds shows that the helical structure is stabilized when polarization effect is counted. It again shows that polarization effect is a very important improvement over traditional force field and is essential for protein folding. We also prove that the salt bridge interaction between 4-residue apart GLU and LYS residues is not critical to the stability of helical structure of EK peptide, but is merely an auxiliary factor, also in agreement with the experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1981
Number of pages8
JournalScience China Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • EK peptide
  • pH
  • polarization
  • salt concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Folding of EK peptide and its dependence on salt concentration and pH: A computational study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this