Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 24(1), 39 (2008).

Anisotropic Nuclear Spin Interactions for the Morphology Analysis of Proteins in Solution by NMR Spectroscopy
Shin-ichi TATE*,**
*Department of Mathematical and Life Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8526, Japan
**PRESTO, Japan Science and Technology Agency, 3-5 Sanban, Chiyoda, Tokyo 102-0075, Japan
Determining the relative orientation of domains within a protein is an important problem in structural biology, which has been difficult to address by either X-ray crystallography or NMR. The structure of a multidomain protein in a crystal lattice can be altered by crystal packing forces, resulting in different domain arrangements from those in solution. On the other hand, conventional NMR primarily provides short-range structural information, including proton-proton distances derived from nuclear Overhauser effects (NOEs) and torsion angles through vicinal spin couplings. Thus, NMR cannot always determine the precise interdomain arrangements due to the sparsely observed spin interactions between domains. However, the weak alignment of proteins in solution has enabled a new NMR technique to determine the domain arrangement based on the different structural information, which defines the orientation of a structural unit in protein against the magnetic field. This technique relies on the anisotropic nuclear spin interactions that only occur for a molecule in a weakly aligned state. In this review, the basics of the new NMR approach are described with focusing on its application to domain orientation analysis. We also describe our recently established NMR approach using the same spin interactions, which expands the domain arrangement analysis to higher-molecular weight proteins over 100 kDa.