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J Biomol NMR. 2017 Mar;67(3):179-190. doi: 10.1007/s10858-017-0094-9. Epub 2017 Feb 26.

High resolution solid-state NMR spectroscopy of the Yersinia pestis outer membrane protein Ail in lipid membranes.

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Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA, 92093-0307, USA.
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, 10901 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA.


The outer membrane protein Ail (Adhesion invasion locus) is one of the most abundant proteins on the cell surface of Yersinia pestis during human infection. Its functions are expressed through interactions with a variety of human host proteins, and are essential for microbial virulence. Structures of Ail have been determined by X-ray diffraction and solution NMR spectroscopy, but those samples contained detergents that interfere with functionality, thus, precluding analysis of the structural basis for Ail's biological activity. Here, we demonstrate that high-resolution solid-state NMR spectra can be obtained from samples of Ail in detergent-free phospholipid liposomes, prepared with a lipid to protein molar ratio of 100. The spectra, obtained with 13C or 1H detection, have very narrow line widths (0.40-0.60 ppm for 13C, 0.11-0.15 ppm for 1H, and 0.46-0.64 ppm for 15N) that are consistent with a high level of sample homogeneity. The spectra enable resonance assignments to be obtained for N, CO, CA and CB atomic sites from 75 out of 156 residues in the sequence of Ail, including 80% of the transmembrane region. The 1H-detected solid-state NMR 1H/15N correlation spectra obtained for Ail in liposomes compare very favorably with the solution NMR 1H/15N TROSY spectra obtained for Ail in nanodiscs prepared with a similar lipid to protein molar ratio. These results set the stage for studies of the molecular basis of the functional interactions of Ail with its protein partners from human host cells, as well as the development of drugs targeting Ail.


Ail; Magic angle spinning; Membrane protein; Solid-state NMR; Yersinia pestis

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