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Biophys J. 2015 Apr 21;108(8):1954-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.03.012.

Solid-State NMR-Restrained Ensemble Dynamics of a Membrane Protein in Explicit Membranes.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences and Center for Computational Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla, California.
Department of Molecular Biosciences and Center for Computational Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. Electronic address:


Solid-state NMR has been used to determine the structures of membrane proteins in native-like lipid bilayer environments. Most structure calculations based on solid-state NMR observables are performed using simulated annealing with restrained molecular dynamics and an energy function, where all nonbonded interactions are represented by a single, purely repulsive term with no contributions from van der Waals attractive, electrostatic, or solvation energy. To our knowledge, this is the first application of an ensemble dynamics technique performed in explicit membranes that uses experimental solid-state NMR observables to obtain the refined structure of a membrane protein together with information about its dynamics and its interactions with lipids. Using the membrane-bound form of the fd coat protein as a model membrane protein and its experimental solid-state NMR data, we performed restrained ensemble dynamics simulations with different ensemble sizes in explicit membranes. For comparison, a molecular dynamics simulation of fd coat protein was also performed without any restraints. The average orientation of each protein helix is similar to a structure determined by traditional single-conformer approaches. However, their variations are limited in the resulting ensemble of structures with one or two replicas, as they are under the strong influence of solid-state NMR restraints. Although highly consistent with all solid-state NMR observables, the ensembles of more than two replicas show larger orientational variations similar to those observed in the molecular dynamics simulation without restraints. In particular, in these explicit membrane simulations, Lys(40), residing at the C-terminal side of the transmembrane helix, is observed to cause local membrane curvature. Therefore, compared to traditional single-conformer approaches in implicit environments, solid-state NMR restrained ensemble simulations in explicit membranes readily characterize not only protein dynamics but also protein-lipid interactions in detail.

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