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J Magn Reson. 2011 Feb;208(2):195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2010.11.001. Epub 2010 Nov 10.

Water-proton-spin-lattice-relaxation dispersion of paramagnetic protein solutions.

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Chemistry Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4319, USA.


The paramagnetic contributions to water-proton-spin-lattice relaxation rate constants in protein systems spin-labeled with nitroxide radicals were re-examined. As noted by others, the strength of the dipolar coupling between water protons and the protein-bound nitroxide radical often appears to be larger than physically reasonable when the relaxation is assumed to be controlled by 3-dimensional diffusive processes in the vicinity of the spin label. We examine the effects of the surface in biasing the diffusive exploration of the radical region and derive a relaxation model that incorporates 2-dimensional dynamics at the interfacial layer. However, we find that the local 2-dimensional dynamics changes the shape of the relaxation dispersion profile but does not necessarily reproduce the low-field relaxation efficiency found by experiment. We examine the contributions of long-range dipolar couplings between the paramagnetic center and protein-bound-water molecules and find that the contributions from these several long range couplings may be competitive with translational contributions because the correlation time for global rotation of the protein is approximately 1000 times longer than that for the diffusive motion of water at the interfacial region. As a result the electron-proton dipolar coupling to rare protein-bound-water-molecule protons may be significant for protein systems that accommodate long-lived-water molecules. Although the estimate of local diffusion coefficients is not seriously compromised because it derives from the Larmor frequency dependence, these several contributions confound efforts to fit relaxation data quantitatively with unique models.

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