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Structure. 2011 Jun 8;19(6):757-66. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2011.04.005.

Improved technologies now routinely provide protein NMR structures useful for molecular replacement.

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Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, UMDNJ, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


Molecular replacement (MR) is widely used for addressing the phase problem in X-ray crystallography. Historically, crystallographers have had limited success using NMR structures as MR search models. Here, we report a comprehensive investigation of the utility of protein NMR ensembles as MR search models, using data for 25 pairs of X-ray and NMR structures solved and refined using modern NMR methods. Starting from NMR ensembles prepared by an improved protocol, FindCore, correct MR solutions were obtained for 22 targets. Based on these solutions, automatic model rebuilding could be done successfully. Rosetta refinement of NMR structures provided MR solutions for another two proteins. We also demonstrate that such properly prepared NMR ensembles and X-ray crystal structures have similar performance when used as MR search models for homologous structures, particularly for targets with sequence identity >40%.

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