ABSTRACT: 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:We describe an NMR approach based on the measurement of residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) to probe the structural and motional properties of the dynamic regions of the ribosome. Alignment of intact 70S ribosomes in filamentous bacteriophage enabled measurement of RDCs in the mobile C-terminal domain (CTD) of the stalk protein bL12. A structural refinement of this domain using the observed RDCs did not show large changes relative to the isolated protein in the absence of the ribosome, and we also found that alignment of the CTD was almost independent of the presence of the core ribosome particle, indicating that the inter-domain linker has significant flexibility. The nature of this linker was subsequently probed in more detail using a paramagnetic alignment strategy, which revealed partial propagation of alignment between neighbouring domains, providing direct experimental validation of a structural ensemble previously derived from SAXS and NMR relaxation measurements. Our results demonstrate the prospect of better characterising dynamical and functional regions of more challenging macromolecular machines and systems, for example ribosome-nascent chain complexes.
Project description:Membrane proteins are encoded by 20-35% of genes but represent <1% of known protein structures to date. Thus, improved methods for membrane-protein structure determination are of critical importance. Residual dipolar couplings (RDCs), commonly measured for biological macromolecules weakly aligned by liquid-crystalline media, are important global angular restraints for NMR structure determination. For alpha-helical membrane proteins >15 kDa in size, Nuclear-Overhauser effect-derived distance restraints are difficult to obtain, and RDCs could serve as the main reliable source of NMR structural information. In many of these cases, RDCs would enable full structure determination that otherwise would be impossible. However, none of the existing liquid-crystalline media used to align water-soluble proteins are compatible with the detergents required to solubilize membrane proteins. We report the design and construction of a detergent-resistant liquid crystal of 0.8-microm-long DNA-nanotubes that can be used to induce weak alignment of membrane proteins. The nanotubes are heterodimers of 0.4-microm-long six-helix bundles each self-assembled from a 7.3-kb scaffold strand and >170 short oligonucleotide staple strands. We show that the DNA-nanotube liquid crystal enables the accurate measurement of backbone N(H) and C(alpha)H(alpha) RDCs for the detergent-reconstituted zeta-zeta transmembrane domain of the T cell receptor. The measured RDCs validate the high-resolution structure of this transmembrane dimer. We anticipate that this medium will extend the advantages of weak alignment to NMR structure determination of a broad range of detergent-solubilized membrane proteins.
Project description:Approaches that combine experimental data and computational molecular dynamics (MD) to determine atomic resolution ensembles of biomolecules require the measurement of abundant experimental data. NMR residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) carry rich dynamics information, however, difficulties in modulating overall alignment of nucleic acids have limited the ability to fully extract this information. We present a strategy for modulating RNA alignment that is based on introducing variable dynamic kinks in terminal helices. With this strategy, we measured seven sets of RDCs in a cUUCGg apical loop and used this rich data set to test the accuracy of an 0.8 ?s MD simulation computed using the Amber ff10 force field as well as to determine an atomic resolution ensemble. The MD-generated ensemble quantitatively reproduces the measured RDCs, but selection of a sub-ensemble was required to satisfy the RDCs within error. The largest discrepancies between the RDC-selected and MD-generated ensembles are observed for the most flexible loop residues and backbone angles connecting the loop to the helix, with the RDC-selected ensemble resulting in more uniform dynamics. Comparison of the RDC-selected ensemble with NMR spin relaxation data suggests that the dynamics occurs on the ps-ns time scales as verified by measurements of R(1?) relaxation-dispersion data. The RDC-satisfying ensemble samples many conformations adopted by the hairpin in crystal structures indicating that intrinsic plasticity may play important roles in conformational adaptation. The approach presented here can be applied to test nucleic acid force fields and to characterize dynamics in diverse RNA motifs at atomic resolution.
Project description:The ability to modulate alignment and measure multiple independent sets of NMR residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) has made it possible to characterize internal motions in proteins at atomic resolution and with time scale sensitivity ranging from picoseconds up to milliseconds. The application of such methods to the study of RNA dynamics, however, remains fundamentally limited by the inability to modulate alignment and by strong couplings between internal and overall motions that complicate the quantitative interpretation of RDCs. Here, we address this problem by showing that RNA alignment can be generally modulated, in a controlled manner, by variable elongation of A-form helices and that the information contained within the measured RDCs can be extracted even in the presence of strong couplings between motions and overall alignment via structure-based prediction of alignment. Using this approach, four RDC data sets, and a broad conformational pool obtained from a 8.2 ?s molecular dynamics simulation, we successfully construct and validate an atomic resolution ensemble of human immunodeficiency virus type I transactivation response element RNA. This ensemble reveals local motions in and around the bulge involving changes in stacking and hydrogen-bonding interactions, which are undetectable by traditional spin relaxation and drive global changes in interhelical orientation. This new approach broadens the scope of using RDCs in characterizing the dynamics of nucleic acids.
Project description:Bicelles are a major medium form to produce weak alignment of soluble proteins for residual dipolar coupling (RDC) measurements. The obstacle to using the same type of bicelles for transmembrane proteins with solution-state NMR spectroscopy is the loss of signals due to the adhesion or penetration of the proteins into large bicelles, resulting in slow protein tumbling. In this study, weak alignment of the second and third transmembrane domains (TM23) of the human glycine receptor (GlyR) was achieved in low-q bicelles (q = DMPC/DHPC). Although protein-free bicelles with such low q would likely show isotropic properties, the insertion of TM23 induced weakly preferred orientations so that the RDC of the embedded protein can be measured. The extent of the alignment increased but the TM23 signal intensity decreased when q was varied from 0.19 to 0.60. A q of 0.50 was found to be an optimal compromise between alignment and the signal-to-noise ratio. In each pair of NMR experiments for RDC measurements, the same sample and pulse sequence were used, with one being performed at high-resolution magic-angle spinning to obtain pure J-couplings without RDC. A meaningful structure refinement in bicelles was possible by iteratively fitting the experimental RDCs to the back-calculated RDCs using the high-resolution NMR structure of GlyR TM23 in trifluoroethanol as the starting template. Combination of this method with the conventional high-resolution NMR in membrane mimicking mixtures of water and organic solvents offers an attractive way to derive structural information for membrane proteins in their native environment.
Project description:Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) provide a unique opportunity for spatially characterizing complex motions in biomolecules with time scale sensitivity extending up to milliseconds. Up to five motionally averaged Wigner rotation elements, (D(0k)2(alphaalpha)), can be determined experimentally using RDCs measured in five linearly independent alignment conditions and applied to define motions of axially symmetric bond vectors. Here, we show that up to 25 motionally averaged Wigner rotation elements, (D(mk)2(alphabetagamma)), can be determined experimentally from multialignment RDCs and used to characterize rigid-body motions of chiral domains. The 25 (D(mk)2(alphabetagamma)) elements form a basis set that allows one to measure motions of a domain relative to an isotropic distribution of reference frames anchored on a second domain (and vice versa), thus expanding the 3D spatial resolution with which motions can be characterized. The 25 (D(mk)2(alphabetagamma)) elements can also be used to fit an ensemble consisting of up to eight equally or six unequally populated states. For more than two domains, changing the identity of the domain governing alignment allows access to new information regarding the correlated nature of the domain fluctuations. Example simulations are provided that validate the theoretical derivation and illustrate the high spatial resolution with which rigid-body domain motions can be characterized using multialignment and multireference RDCs. Our results further motivate the development of experimental approaches for both modulating alignment and anchoring it on specifically targeted domains.
Project description:Long-range NMR data, namely residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) from external alignment and paramagnetic data, are becoming increasingly popular for the characterization of conformational heterogeneity of multidomain biomacromolecules and protein complexes. The question addressed here is how much information is contained in these averaged data. We have analyzed and compared the information content of conformationally averaged RDCs caused by steric alignment and of both RDCs and pseudocontact shifts caused by paramagnetic alignment, and found that, despite the substantial differences, they contain a similar amount of information. Furthermore, using several synthetic tests we find that both sets of data are equally good towards recovering the major state(s) in conformational distributions.
Project description:Experimentally measured residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) are highly valuable for atomic-resolution structural and dynamic studies of molecular systems ranging from small molecules to large proteins by solution NMR spectroscopy. Here we demonstrate the first use of magnetic-alignment behavior of lyotropic liquid-crystalline polymer macro-nanodiscs (>20?nm in diameter) as a novel alignment medium for the measurement of RDCs using high-resolution NMR. The easy preparation of macro-nanodiscs, their high stability against pH changes and the presence of divalent metal ions, and their high homogeneity make them an efficient tool to investigate a wide range of molecular systems including natural products, proteins, and RNA.
Project description:Triple resonance E.COSY-based techniques were used to measure intra-residue and sequential H(N)-H(alpha) residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) for the third IgG-binding domain of protein G (GB3), aligned in Pf1 medium. Measurements closely correlate with values predicted on the basis of an NMR structure, previously determined on the basis of a large number of one-bond backbone RDCs measured in five alignment media. However, in particular the sequential H(N)-H(alpha) RDCs are smaller than predicted for a static structure, suggesting a degree of motion for these internuclear vectors that exceeds that of the backbone amide N-H vectors. Of all experimentally determined GB3 structures available, the best correlation between experimental (1)H-(1)H couplings is observed for a GB3 ensemble, previously derived to generate a realistic picture of the conformational space sampled by GB3 (Clore and Schwieters, J Mol Biol 355:879-886, 2006). However, for both NMR and X-ray-derived structures the (1)H-(1)H couplings are found to be systematically smaller than expected on the basis of alignment tensors derived from (15)N-(1)H amide RDCs, assuming librationally corrected N-H bond lengths of 1.041 A.
Project description:The association of transmembrane (TM) helices underlies membrane protein structure and folding. Structural studies of TM complexes are limited by complex stability and the often time-consuming selection of suitable membrane mimics. Here, methodology for the efficient, preparative scale construction of covalent TM complexes and the concomitant high-throughput selection of membrane mimics is introduced. For the employed integrin ?IIb?3 model system, the methodology identified phospholipid bicelles, including their specific composition, as the best membrane mimic. The method facilitates structure determination by NMR spectroscopy as exemplified by the measurement of previously inaccessible residual dipolar couplings and (15)N relaxation parameters.