Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Recently extended theoretical methods and existent experimental methods have been employed for the determination of conformational-dependent properties of polymers of biological interest like synthetic polyamino acids, natural polypeptides and proteins. Calculation of theoretical properties, like for example average helical content and average helical length, as derived from the configuration partition function has been achieved by making use of the Rotational Isomeric State approximation through modifications and innovations of a nearest-neighbor interaction version of the Zimm-Bragg model of helix-coil transitions as presented in a matrix format suitable for use in an electronic computer. The scope of the theory allows for the numerical evaluation of properties devoid of experimental counterparts, like for example helix initiation and helix propagation probabilities. Application was made as well of various theoretical formalisms (developed elsewhere) to the analysis of the thermal denaturation profiles of a two chain coiled-coil crosslinked (alpha)-tropomyosin dimer. In addition, the conformations of a synthetic copolymer of L-lysine and L-glutamic acid, and of the natural pituitary opioid peptide dynorphine-(1-13) have been determined in the presence of various detergents and lipids. This has been achieved by means of ultraviolet circular dichroism spectroscopic methods.