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J Am Chem Soc. 2006 May 31;128(21):6947-51.

Increasing the accuracy of solution NMR structures of membrane proteins by application of residual dipolar couplings. High-resolution structure of outer membrane protein A.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The structure determination of membrane proteins is one of the most challenging applications of solution NMR spectroscopy. The paucity of distance information available from the highly deuterated proteins employed requires new approaches in structure determination. Here we demonstrate that significant improvement in the structure accuracy of the membrane protein OmpA can be achieved by refinement with residual dipolar couplings (RDCs). The application of charged polyacrylamide gels allowed us to obtain two alignments and accurately measure numerous heteronuclear dipolar couplings. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that using a large set of RDCs in the refinement can yield a structure with 1 A rms deviation to the backbone of the high-resolution crystal structure. Our simulations with various data sets indicate that dipolar couplings will be critical for obtaining accurate structures of membrane proteins.

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