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Acc Chem Res. 2013 Sep 17;46(9):2117-26. doi: 10.1021/ar300360q. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Protein structure determination with paramagnetic solid-state NMR spectroscopy.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The Ohio State University , Columbus, Ohio 43210, United States.


Many structures of the proteins and protein assemblies that play central roles in fundamental biological processes and disease pathogenesis are not readily accessible via the conventional techniques of single-crystal X-ray diffraction and solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). On the other hand, many of these challenging biological systems are suitable targets for atomic-level structural and dynamic analysis by magic-angle spinning (MAS) solid-state NMR spectroscopy, a technique that has far less stringent limitations on the molecular size and crystalline state. Over the past decade, major advances in instrumentation and methodology have prompted rapid growth in the field of biological solid-state NMR. However, despite this progress, one challenge for the elucidation of three-dimensional (3D) protein structures via conventional MAS NMR methods is the relative lack of long-distance data. Specifically, extracting unambiguous interatomic distance restraints larger than ∼5 Å from through-space magnetic dipole-dipole couplings among the protein (1)H, (13)C, and (15)N nuclei has proven to be a considerable challenge for researchers. It is possible to circumvent this problem by extending the structural studies to include several analogs of the protein of interest, intentionally modified to contain covalently attached paramagnetic tags at selected sites. In these paramagnetic proteins, the hyperfine couplings between the nuclei and unpaired electrons can manifest themselves in NMR spectra in the form of relaxation enhancements of the nuclear spins that depend on the electron-nucleus distance. These effects can be significant for nuclei located up to ∼20 Å away from the paramagnetic center. In this Account, we discuss MAS NMR structural studies of nitroxide and EDTA-Cu(2+) labeled variants of a model 56 amino acid globular protein, B1 immunoglobulin-binding domain of protein G (GB1), in the microcrystalline solid phase. We used a set of six EDTA-Cu(2+)-tagged GB1 mutants to rapidly determine the global protein fold in a de novo fashion. Remarkably, these studies required quantitative measurements of only approximately four or five backbone amide (15)N longitudinal paramagnetic relaxation enhancements per residue, in the complete absence of the usual internuclear distance restraints. Importantly, this paramagnetic solid-state NMR methodology is general and can be directly applied to larger proteins and protein complexes for which a significant fraction of the signals can be assigned in standard 2D and 3D MAS NMR chemical shift correlation spectra.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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