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Issue 39, 2011
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Spin-label ESR with nanochannels to improve the study of backbone dynamics and structural conformations of polypeptides

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Abstract

Nanochannels of mesoporous silica materials were previously found useful for reducing the tumbling motion of encapsulated biomolecules while leaving the biomolecular structure undisturbed. Here we show that experiments of cw-ESR distance measurement in nano-confinement can benefit immediately from the above mentioned features of sufficiently slow molecular tumbling, enabling more accurate determination of interspin distances throughout the temperature range, from 200 to 300 K. A 26-residue prion protein peptide, which can fold into either a helical or hairpin structure, as well as its variants, are studied by using ESR. By comparing the spectra obtained in vitrified bulk solutions vs. mesopores, the spectra from the latter display typical slow-motional lineshapes, thereby enabling dipolar anisotropy to be unambiguously revealed throughout the temperature range, whereas the spectra from the former are dominated by the disordering of the side chain and the rotational tumbling of the peptide. The spectral changes regarding the two secondary structures in nano-confinement are found to show a strong correlation with the dynamic properties of the backbones. The effect of viscosity agent perturbation on the motion of an R1 nitroxide side chain, a commonly employed probe, could be substantial in a bulk solution condition, though it is absolutely absent in nanochannels. Under nano-confinement, the probe is proven sufficiently sensitive to the backbone motions. Overall, the distance distributions determined from the mesopore studies not only describe the conformational structures (by average distances), but also the backbone dynamics (by distribution widths) of the spin-labeled peptides.

Graphical abstract: Spin-label ESR with nanochannels to improve the study of backbone dynamics and structural conformations of polypeptides

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Publication details

The article was received on 31 Mar 2011, accepted on 11 Aug 2011 and first published on 05 Sep 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1CP20986H
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 17521-17531

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    Spin-label ESR with nanochannels to improve the study of backbone dynamics and structural conformations of polypeptides

    Y. Huang and Y. Chiang, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 17521
    DOI: 10.1039/C1CP20986H

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