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J Biomol NMR. 2005 Jun;32(2):163-73.

Off-resonance rotating-frame amide proton spin relaxation experiments measuring microsecond chemical exchange in proteins.

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Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Lund University, P.O. Box 124, SE-22100, Lund, Sweden.


NMR spin relaxation in the rotating frame (R(1rho)) is a unique method for atomic-resolution characterization of conformational (chemical) exchange processes occurring on the microsecond time scale. Here, we use amide 1H off-resonance R(1rho) relaxation experiments to determine exchange parameters for processes that are significantly faster than those that can be probed using 15N or 13C relaxation. The new pulse sequence is validated using the E140Q mutant of the C-terminal domain of calmodulin, which exhibits significant conformational exchange contributions to the transverse relaxation rates. The 1H off-resonance R(1rho) data sample the entire relaxation dispersion profiles for the large majority of residues in this protein, which exchanges between conformations with a time constant of approximately 20 micros. This is in contrast to the case for 15N, where additional laboratory-frame relaxation data are required to determine the exchange parameters reliably. Experiments were performed on uniformly 15N-enriched samples that were either highly enriched in 2H or fully protonated. In the latter case, dipolar cross-relaxation with aliphatic protons were effectively decoupled to first order using a selective inversion pulse. Deuterated and protonated samples gave the same results, within experimental errors. The use of deuterated samples increases the sensitivity towards exchange contributions to the 1H transverse relaxation rates, since dipolar relaxation is greatly reduced. The exchange correlation times determined from the present 1H off-resonance R(1rho) experiments are in excellent agreement with those determined previously using a combination of 15N laboratory-frame and off-resonance R(1rho) relaxation data, with average values of [see text] and 21 +/- 3 micros , respectively.

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