A New Interpretation of the Structure and Solvent Dependence of the Far UV Circular Dichroism Spectrum of Short Oligopeptides

In this work, we carry out new time-dependent density functional theory calculations on the cationic tripeptide GAG in implicit and explicit water to determine the transitions that give rise to the observed CD signals of polyproline II and β-strand conformations. Our results reveal a plethora of electronic transitions that are governed by configurational interactions between multiple molecular orbital transitions of comparable energy. We also show that reproducing the CD spectra of polyproline II and β-strand conformations requires the explicit consideration of water molecules. The structure dependence of delocalized occupied orbitals contributes to the experimentally-observed invalidation of Flory’s isolated pair hypothesis.