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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 May 21;125(20):6032-3.

Dynamic NMR line-shape analysis demonstrates that the villin headpiece subdomain folds on the microsecond time scale.

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Department of Chemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 11794-3400, USA.


There is considerable interest in small proteins that fold very rapidly. These proteins have become attractive targets for both theoretical and computational studies. The independently folded 36-residue villin headpiece subdomain has been the subject of a number of such studies and is predicted to fold quickly. We demonstrate using dynamic NMR line-shape analysis that the protein folds on the time scale of 10 mus. Folding rates were directly estimated between 56 and 78 degrees C using resolved protein resonances from three different residues at both 500 and 700 MHz. The rates estimated using different residues and different field strengths agree well with each other. The estimated folding rate lies between 0.5 and 2.0 x 105 s-1 over this temperature range. The folding rate depends only weakly on temperature.

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