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Biophys J. 1999 Jun;76(6):3298-306.

A multifrequency electron spin resonance study of T4 lysozyme dynamics.

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Baker Laboratory of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-1301, USA.


Electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy at 250 GHz and 9 GHz is utilized to study the dynamics and local structural ordering of a nitroxide-labeled enzyme, T4 lysozyme (EC, in aqueous solution from 10 degrees C to 35 degrees C. Two separate derivatives, labeled at sites 44 and 69, were analyzed. The 250-GHz ESR spectra are well described by a microscopic ordering with macroscopic disordering (MOMD) model, which includes the influence of the tether connecting the probe to the protein. In the faster "time scale" of the 250-GHz ESR experiment, the overall rotational diffusion rate of the enzyme is too slow to significantly affect the spectrum, whereas for the 9-GHz ESR spectra, the overall rotational diffusion must be accounted for in the analysis. This is accomplished by using a slowly relaxing local structure model (SRLS) for the dynamics, wherein the tether motion and the overall motion are both included. In this way a simultaneous fit is successfully obtained for both the 250-GHz and 9-GHz ESR spectra. Two distinct motional/ordering modes of the probe are found for both lysozyme derivatives, indicating that the tether exists in two distinct conformations on the ESR time scale. The probe diffuses more rapidly about an axis perpendicular to its tether, which may result from fluctuations of the peptide backbone at the point of attachment of the spin probe.

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