Polymer and Materials Science
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
The conformational transition between the two helical forms I and II of poly-L-proline serves as an experimental model for the study of the kinetic, behavior of cooperative systems. The slow I ⇌ II conversion after a sudden perturbation of the solvent composition was followed polarimetrically. The dependence of the mean relaxation times on chain length and the degree of conversion was compared with Schwarz's theory. In addition, a description of the entire relaxation curves was possible in three special cases: all-or-nothing, small perturbations of the I ⇌ II equilibrium in long chains, and conversions which start off with molecules completely in one or the other conformational state. The mathematical model on which the theory is based contains only one more adjustable parameter than the equilibrium model, but it adapts to the experimental results surprisingly well. The present kinetic results and equilibrium measurements on this system are described by the same values of those parameters which are common to both models. The found value of the rate constant of the propagation step, i.e. the cis ⇌ trans isomerization of a peptide bond at an existing I-II junction, agrees with the rate of isomerization in N,N-dimethylacetamide reported in the literature. The rate of nucleation is up to 105 times smaller than the rate of propagation.
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