Conformational Heterogeneity in the Activation Mechanism of Bax.
ABSTRACT: Bax is known for its pro-apoptotic role within the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. However, the mechanism for transitioning Bax from cytosolic to membrane-bound oligomer remains elusive. Previous nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) studies defined monomeric Bax as conformationally homogeneous. Yet it has recently been proposed that monomeric Bax exists in equilibrium with a minor state that is distinctly different from its NMR structure. Here, we revisited the structural analysis of Bax using methods uniquely suited for unveiling "invisible" states of proteins, namely, NMR paramagnetic relaxation enhancements and EPR double electron-electron resonance (DEER). Additionally we examined the effect of glycerol, the co-solvent of choice in DEER studies, on the structure of Bax using NMR chemical-shift perturbations and residual dipolar couplings. Based on our combined NMR and EPR results, Bax is a conformationally homogeneous protein prior to its activation.
Project description:Structure determination remains a challenge for many biologically important proteins. In particular, proteins that adopt multiple conformations often evade crystallization in all biologically relevant states. Although computational de novo protein folding approaches often sample biologically relevant conformations, the selection of the most accurate model for different functional states remains a formidable challenge, in particular, for proteins with more than about 150 residues. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy can obtain limited structural information for proteins in well-defined biological states and thereby assist in selecting biologically relevant conformations. The present study demonstrates that de novo folding methods are able to accurately sample the folds of 192-residue long soluble monomeric Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX). The tertiary structures of the monomeric and homodimeric forms of BAX were predicted using the primary structure as well as 25 and 11 EPR distance restraints, respectively. The predicted models were subsequently compared to respective NMR/X-ray structures of BAX. EPR restraints improve the protein-size normalized root-mean-square-deviation (RMSD100) of the most accurate models with respect to the NMR/crystal structure from 5.9Å to 3.9Å and from 5.7Å to 3.3Å, respectively. Additionally, the model discrimination is improved, which is demonstrated by an improvement of the enrichment from 5% to 15% and from 13% to 21%, respectively.
Project description:There is a general need to develop more powerful and more robust methods for structural characterization of homodimers, homo-oligomers, and multiprotein complexes using solution-state NMR methods. In recent years, there has been increasing emphasis on integrating distinct and complementary methodologies for structure determination of multiprotein complexes. One approach not yet widely used is to obtain intermediate and long-range distance constraints from paramagnetic relaxation enhancements (PRE) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR)-based techniques such as double electron electron resonance (DEER), which, when used together, can provide supplemental distance constraints spanning to 10-70 A. In this Communication, we describe integration of PRE and DEER data with conventional solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods for structure determination of Dsy0195, a homodimer (62 amino acids per monomer) from Desulfitobacterium hafniense. Our results indicate that combination of conventional NMR restraints with only one or a few DEER distance constraints and a small number of PRE constraints is sufficient for the automatic NMR-based structure determination program CYANA to build a network of interchain nuclear Overhauser effect constraints that can be used to accurately define both the homodimer interface and the global homodimer structure. The use of DEER distances as a source of supplemental constraints as described here has virtually no upper molecular weight limit, and utilization of the PRE constraints is limited only by the ability to make accurate assignments of the protein amide proton and nitrogen chemical shifts.
Project description:The success of homodimer structure determination by conventional solution NMR spectroscopy relies greatly on interchain distance restraints (less than 6 Å) derived from nuclear Overhauser effects (NOEs) obtained from (13)C-edited, (12)C-filtered NOESY experiments. However, these experiments may fail when the mixed (13)C-/(12)C-homodimer is never significantly populated due to slow homodimer chain exchange. Thus, knowledge of the homodimer chain exchange kinetics can be put to practical use in preparing samples using the traditional NMR method. Here, we described detailed procedures for using paramagnetic resonance enhancements (PREs) and EPR spectroscopy to measure homodimer chain exchange kinetics. In addition, PRE and EPR methods can be combined to provide mid-range (<30 Å) and long-range (17-80 Å) interchain distance restraints for homodimer structure determination as a supplement to short-range intrachain and interchain distance restraints (less than 6 Å) typically obtained from (1)H-(1)H NOESY experiments. We present a summary of how to measure these distances using NMR-based PREs and EPR-based double electron electron resonance (DEER) measurements and how to include them in homodimer structure calculations.
Project description:A significant problem with paramagnetic tags attached to proteins and nucleic acids is their conformational mobility. Each tag is statistically distributed within a volume between 5 and 10 Angstroms across; structural biology conclusions from NMR and EPR work are necessarily diluted by this uncertainty. The problem is solved in electron spin resonance, but remains open in the other major branch of paramagnetic resonance - pseudocontact shift (PCS) NMR spectroscopy, where structural biologists have so far been reluctantly using the point paramagnetic centre approximation. Here we describe a new method for extracting probability densities of lanthanide tags from PCS data. The method relies on Tikhonov-regularised 3D reconstruction and opens a new window into biomolecular structure and dynamics because it explores a very different range of conditions from those accessible to double electron resonance work on paramagnetic tags: a room-temperature solution rather than a glass at cryogenic temperatures. The method is illustrated using four different Tm3+ DOTA-M8 tagged mutants of human carbonic anhydrase II; the results are in good agreement with rotamer library and DEER data. The wealth of high-quality pseudocontact shift data accumulated by the biological magnetic resonance community over the last 30 years, and so far only processed using point models, could now become a major source of useful information on conformational distributions of paramagnetic tags in biomolecules.
Project description:In site-directed spin labeling (SDSL), local structural and dynamic information is obtained via electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of a stable nitroxide radical attached site-specifically to a macromolecule. Analysis of electron spin dipolar interactions between pairs of nitroxides yields the inter-nitroxide distance, which provides quantitative structural information. The development of pulse EPR methods has enabled such distance measurements up to 70 A in bio-molecules, thus opening up the possibility of SDSL global structural mapping. This study evaluates SDSL distance measurement using a nitroxide (designated as R5) that can be attached, in an efficient and cost-effective manner, to a phosphorothioate backbone position at arbitrary DNA or RNA sequences. R5 pairs were attached to selected positions of a dodecamer DNA duplex with a known NMR structure, and eight distances, ranging from 20 to 40 A, were measured using double electron-electron resonance (DEER). The measured distances correlated strongly (R2 = 0.98) with the predicted values calculated based on a search of sterically allowable R5 conformations in the NMR structure, thus demonstrating accurate distance measurements using R5. Furthermore, distance measurement in a 42 kD DNA was demonstrated. The results establish R5 as a sequence-independent probe for global structural mapping of DNA and DNA-protein complexes.
Project description:Cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography have shown that the pre- and postfusion states of the HIV-1 gp41 viral coat protein, although very different from one another, each adopt C3 symmetric structures. A stable homotrimeric structure for the transmembrane domain (TM) also was modeled and supported by experimental data. For a C3 symmetric structure, alignment in an anisotropic medium must be axially symmetric, with the unique axis of the alignment tensor coinciding with the C3 axis. However, NMR residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) measured under three different alignment conditions were found to be incompatible with C3 symmetry. Subsequent measurements by paramagnetic relaxation enhancement, analytical ultracentrifugation, and DEER EPR, indicate that the transmembrane domain is monomeric. 15N NMR relaxation data and RDCs show that TM is highly ordered and uninterrupted for a total length of 32 residues, extending well into the membrane proximal external region.
Project description:A simple method, based on inversion modulated double electron-electron resonance electron paramagnetic resonance (DEER EPR) spectroscopy, is presented for determining populations of monomer and dimer in proteins (as well as any other biological macromolecules). The method is based on analysis of modulation depth versus electron double resonance (ELDOR) pulse flip angle. High accuracy is achieved by complete deuteration, extensive sampling of a large number of ELDOR pulse flip angle values, and combined analysis of differently labeled spin samples. We demonstrate the method using two different proteins: an obligate monomer exemplified by the small immunoglobulin binding B?domain of protein?A, and the p66 subunit of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase which exists as an equilibrium mixture of monomer and dimer species whose relative populations are affected by glycerol content. This information is crucial for quantitative analysis of distance distributions involving proteins that may exist as mixtures of monomer, dimer and high order multimers under the conditions of the DEER EPR experiment.
Project description:The established model-free methods for the processing of two-electron dipolar spectroscopy data [DEER (double electron-electron resonance), PELDOR (pulsed electron double resonance), DQ-EPR (double-quantum electron paramagnetic resonance), RIDME (relaxation-induced dipolar modulation enhancement), etc.] use regularized fitting. In this communication, we describe an attempt to process DEER data using artificial neural networks trained on large databases of simulated data. Accuracy and reliability of neural network outputs from real experimental data were found to be unexpectedly high. The networks are also able to reject exchange interactions and to return a measure of uncertainty in the resulting distance distributions. This paper describes the design of the training databases, discusses the training process, and rationalizes the observed performance. Neural networks produced in this work are incorporated as options into Spinach and DeerAnalysis packages.
Project description:In this work, the experimental conditions and parameters necessary to optimize the long-distance (? 60 Å) Double Electron-Electron Resonance (DEER) measurements of biomacromolecules labeled with Gd(III) tags are analyzed. The specific parameters discussed are the temperature, microwave band, the separation between the pumping and observation frequencies, pulse train repetition rate, pulse durations and pulse positioning in the electron paramagnetic resonance spectrum. It was found that: (i) in optimized DEER measurements, the observation pulses have to be applied at the maximum of the EPR spectrum; (ii) the optimal temperature range for Ka-band measurements is 14-17 K, while in W-band the optimal temperatures are between 6-9 K; (iii) W-band is preferable to Ka-band for DEER measurements. Recent achievements and the conditions necessary for short-distance measurements (<15 Å) are also briefly discussed.
Project description:In-cell distance determination by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy reveals essential structural information about biomacromolecules under native conditions. We demonstrate that the pulsed EPR technique RIDME (relaxation induced dipolar modulation enhancement) can be utilized for such distance determination. The performance of in-cell RIDME has been assessed at Q-band using stiff molecular rulers labeled with Gd(III)-PyMTA and microinjected into Xenopus laevis oocytes. The overtone coefficients are determined to be the same for protonated aqueous solutions and inside cells. As compared to in-cell DEER (double electron-electron resonance, also abbreviated as PELDOR), in-cell RIDME features approximately 5 times larger modulation depth and does not show artificial broadening in the distance distributions due to the effect of pseudosecular terms.