A structural mode-coupling approach to 15N NMR relaxation in proteins

V. Tugarinov, Z. Liang, Y. E. Shapiro, J. H. Freed, E. Meirovitch

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131 Scopus citations


The two-body Slowly Relaxing Local Structure (SRLS) model was applied to 15N NMR spin relaxation in proteins and compared with the commonly used original and extended model-free (MF) approaches. In MF, the dynamic modes are assumed to be decoupled, local ordering at the N-H sites is represented by generalized order parameters, and internal motions are described by effective correlation times. SRLS accounts for dynamical coupling between the global diffusion of the protein and the internal motion of the N-H bond vector. The local ordering associated with the coupling potential and the internal N-H diffusion are tensors with orientations that may be tilted relative to the global diffusion and magnetic frames. SRLS generates spectral density functions that differ from the MF formulas. The MF spectral densities can be regarded as limiting cases of the SRLS spectral density. SRLS-based model-fitting and model-selection schemes similar to the currently used MF-based ones were devised, and a correspondence between analogous SRLS and modelfree parameters was established. It was found that experimental NMR data are sensitive to the presence of mixed modes. Our results showed that MF can significantly overestimate order parameters and underestimate local motion correlation times in proteins. The extent of these digressions in the derived microdynamic parameters is estimated in the various parameter ranges, and correlated with the time scale separation between local and global motions. The SRLS-based analysis was tested extensively on 15N relaxation data from several isotropically tumbling proteins. The results of SRLS-based fitting are illustrated with RNase H from E. coli, a protein extensively studied previously with MF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3055-3063
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2001


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