Navigating Membrane Protein Structure, Dynamics, and Energy Landscapes Using Spin Labeling and EPR Spectroscopy.
- PMID: 26477257[PubMed].
A detailed understanding of the functional mechanism of a protein entails the characterization of its energy landscape. Achieving this ambitious goal requires the integration of multiple approaches including determination of high-resolution crystal structures, uncovering conformational sampling under distinct biochemical conditions, characterizing the kinetics and thermodynamics of transitions between functional intermediates using spectroscopic techniques, and interpreting and harmonizing the data into novel computational models. With increasing sophistication in solution-based and ensemble-oriented biophysical approaches such as electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, atomic resolution structural information can be directly linked to conformational sampling in solution. Here, we detail how recent methodological and technological advances in EPR spectroscopy have contributed to the elucidation of membrane protein mechanisms. Furthermore, we aim to assist investigators interested in pursuing EPR studies by providing an introduction to the technique, a primer on experimental design, and a description of the practical considerations of the method toward generating high quality data.