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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Oct 28;131(42):15246-50. doi: 10.1021/ja904808n.

Pulsed electron-electron double-resonance determination of spin-label distances and orientations on the tetrameric potassium ion channel KcsA.

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Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry and Center of Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Pulsed electron-electron double-resonance (PELDOR) measurements are presented from the potassium ion channel KcsA both solubilized in detergent and reconstituted in lipids. Site-directed spin-labeling using (1-oxyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethyl-3-pyrrolin-3-yl)methyl methanethiosulfonate was performed with a R64C mutant of the protein. The orientations of the spin-labels in the tetramer were determined by PELDOR experiments performed at two magnetic field strengths (0.3 T/X-band and 1.2 T/Q-band) and variable probe frequency. Quantitative simulation of the PELDOR data supports a strongly restricted nitroxide, oriented at an angle of 65 degrees relative to the central channel axis. In general, poorer quality PELDOR data were obtained from membrane-reconstituted preparations compared to soluble proteins or detergent-solubilized samples. One reason for this is the reduced transverse spin relaxation time T(2) of nitroxides due to crowding of tetramers within the membrane that occurs even at low protein to lipid ratios. This reduced T(2) can be overcome by reconstituting mixtures of unlabeled and labeled proteins, yielding high-quality PELDOR data. Identical PELDOR oscillation frequencies and their dependencies on the probe frequency were observed in the detergent and membrane-reconstituted preparations, indicating that the position and orientation of the spin-labels are the same in both environments.

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