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Journal/Book: J Mol Biol
Published: 1996
Pages: 669–683
Volume: 257
Accession no.: 19

Main-chain dynamics of a partially folded protein: 15N NMR relaxation measurements of hen egg white lysozyme denatured in trifluoroethanol.

M. Buck, H. Schwalbe, C. M. Dobson
15N NMR relaxation measurements have been used to study the dynamic behaviour of the main-chain of hen lysozyme in a partially folded state, formed in a 70% (v/v) trifluoroethanol (TFE)/30% water mixture at 37 degrees C and pH 2. This state is characterised by helical secondary structure in the absence of extensive tertiary interactions. The NMR relaxation data were interpreted by mapping of spectral density functions and by derivation of segmental as well as global order parameters. The results imply that the dynamics of lysozyme in TFE can, at least for the great majority of residues, be adequately described by internal motions which are superimposed on all overall isotropic tumbling of the molecule. Although the dynamic behaviour shows substantial variations along the polypeptide chain, it correlates well with the conformational preferences identified in the TFE state by other NMR parameters. Segments of the polypeptide chain which are part of persistent helical structures are highly restricted in their motion (S2 > 0.8 , with effective internal correlation times tau(e) < 200 ps) but are also found to experience conformational exchange on a millisecond timescale. Regions which are stabilised in less persistent helical structure possess greater flexibility (0.6 < S2 < 0.8, 200 ps < tau(e) < 1 ns) and those which lack defined conformational preferences are highly flexible (S2 < 0.6, tau(e) approximately 1 ns). The dynamic behaviour of the main-chain was found to be correlated with other local features of the polypeptide chain, including hydrophobicity and the position of the disulphide bridges. Despite the absence of extensive tertiary interactions, preferential stabilisation of native-like secondary structure by TFE results in a pattern of main-chain dynamics which is similar to that of the native state.
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Prof. Dr. Harald Schwalbe
Institut für Organische Chemie und Chemische Biologie
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität
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