Solid-state NMR analysis of membrane proteins and protein aggregates by proton detected spectroscopy

Donghua H. Zhou, Andrew J. Nieuwkoop, Deborah A. Berthold, Gemma Comellas, Lindsay J. Sperling, Ming Tang, Gautam J. Shah, Elliott J. Brea, Luisel R. Lemkau, Chad M. Rienstra

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72 Scopus citations


Solid-state NMR has emerged as an important tool for structural biology and chemistry, capable of solving atomic-resolution structures for proteins in membranebound and aggregated states. Proton detection methods have been recently realized under fast magic-angle spinning conditions, providing large sensitivity enhancements for efficient examination of uniformly labeled proteins. The first and often most challenging step of protein structure determination by NMR is the site-specific resonance assignment. Here we demonstrate resonance assignments based on highsensitivity proton-detected three-dimensional experiments for samples of different physical states, including a fullyprotonated small protein (GB1, 6 kDa), a deuterated microcrystalline protein (DsbA, 21 kDa), a membrane protein (DsbB, 20 kDa) prepared in a lipid environment, and the extended core of a fibrillar protein (α-synuclein, 14 kDa). In our implementation of these experiments, including CONH, CO(CA)NH, CANH, CA(CO)NH, CBCANH, and CBCA- (CO)NH, dipolar-based polarization transfer methods have been chosen for optimal efficiency for relatively high protonation levels (full protonation or 100 % amide proton), fast magic-angle spinning conditions (40 kHz) and moderate proton decoupling power levels. Each H-N pair correlates exclusively to either intra- or inter-residue carbons, but not both, to maximize spectral resolution. Experiment time can be reduced by at least a factor of 10 by using proton detection in comparison to carbon detection. These high-sensitivity experiments are especially important for membrane proteins, which often have rather low expression yield. Protondetection based experiments are expected to play an important role in accelerating protein structure elucidation by solid-state NMR with the improved sensitivity and resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-305
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of biomolecular NMR
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy


  • Chemical assignment
  • Magic-angle spinning
  • Proton detection
  • Solid-state NMR

Cite this

Zhou, D. H., Nieuwkoop, A. J., Berthold, D. A., Comellas, G., Sperling, L. J., Tang, M., Shah, G. J., Brea, E. J., Lemkau, L. R., & Rienstra, C. M. (2012). Solid-state NMR analysis of membrane proteins and protein aggregates by proton detected spectroscopy. Journal of biomolecular NMR, 54(3), 291-305.