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Protein structure determination using long-distance constraints from double-quantum coherence ESR: study of T4 lysozyme.


Borbat PPPetr P , McHaourab HS Hassane S , Freed JH Jack H . Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2002 5 15; 124(19). 5304-14


We report the use of a novel pulsed ESR technique for distance measurement, based on the detection of double quantum coherence (DQC), which yields high quality dipolar spectra, to significantly extend the range of measurable distances in proteins using nitroxide spin-labels. Eight T4 lysozyme (T4L) mutants, doubly labeled with methanethiosulfonate spin-label (MTSSL), have been studied using DQC-ESR at 9 and 17 GHz. The distances span the range from 20 A for the 65/76 mutant to 47 A for the 61/135 mutant. The high quality of the dipolar spectra also allows the determination of the distance distributions, the width of which can be used to set upper and lower bounds in future computational strategy. It is also demonstrated that the shape of these distributions can reveal the presence of multiple conformations of the spin-label, an issue of critical relevance to the structural interpretation of the distances. The distances and distributions found in this study are readily rationalized in terms of the known crystal structure, the characteristic conformers of the nitroxide side chains, and molecular modeling. This study sets the stage for the use of DQC-ESR for determining the tertiary structure of large proteins with just a small number of long-distance constraints.