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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Feb 8;134(5):2481-4. doi: 10.1021/ja210238g. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Time scales of slow motions in ubiquitin explored by heteronuclear double resonance.

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Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Institut des Sciences et Ingénierie Chimiques, BCH, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Understanding how proteins function at the atomic level relies in part on a detailed characterization of their dynamics. Ubiquitin, a small single-domain protein, displays rich dynamic properties over a wide range of time scales. In particular, several regions of ubiquitin show the signature of chemical exchange, including the hydrophobic patch and the β4-α2 loop, which are both involved in many interactions. Here, we use multiple-quantum relaxation techniques to identify the extent of chemical exchange in ubiquitin. We employ our recently developed heteronuclear double resonance method to determine the time scales of motions that give rise to chemical exchange. Dispersion profiles are obtained for the backbone NH(N) pairs of several residues in the hydrophobic patch and the β4-α2 loop, as well as the C-terminus of helix α1. We show that a single time scale (ca. 50 μs) can be used to fit the data for most residues. Potential mechanisms for the propagation of motions and the possible extent of correlation of these motions are discussed.

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