Effects of Trimethylamine-N -oxide on the Conformation of Peptides and its Implications for Proteins
To provide insights into the stabilizing mechanisms of trimethylamine-N -oxide (TMAO) on protein structures, we perform all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of peptides and the Trp-cage miniprotein. The effects of TMAO on the backbone and charged residues of peptides are found to stabilize compact conformations, whereas effects of TMAO on nonpolar residues lead to peptide swelling. This suggests competing mechanisms of TMAO on proteins, which accounts for hydrophobic swelling, backbone collapse, and stabilization of charge-charge interactions. These mechanisms are observed in Trp cage.