Infoscience

Thesis

Chemical exchange in proteins: relaxation of multiple- and single-quantum coherences studied by NMR

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy offers many ways to investigate dynamic properties of molecules. A wide variety of experimental techniques can probe molecular dynamics on time scales that range from 10-12 to 103 seconds. Many lines of evidence point to the existence of large scale dynamics on milli- to microsecond time scale that are essential to molecular function. Those conformational motions can give rise to chemical exchange effects. So far in the literature two methods have been mainly used to study such processes: CPMG echo trains and R1ρ spin-lock relaxation experiments. The former is suited to investigate processes on the millisecond time scale, whereas R1ρ can probe processes ranging from milliseconds down to ca. microseconds. CPMG and R1ρ studies of the relaxation rates of single quantum (SQ) coherences can be complemented by multiple quantum coherence (MQ) coherences experiments which can provide information whether two (or more) spins are affected simultaneously by chemical exchange. The goal of this thesis is to characterize chemical exchange in proteins by new (Heteronuclear Double Resonance, HDR) and existing (relaxation compensated CPMG) methods. The presence of chemical exchange has been identified in APO-rMUP using the classical CPMG experiment on single quantum 15N magnetization, whereas in HOLO-rMUP no presence of chemical exchange has been found. Most of the thesis is dedicated to the analysis and the application of a new method, HDR, which is designed to determine the cross-relaxation rates between MQ operators. In fact, in heteronuclear systems, correlated chemical exchange contributes to cross-relaxation between MQ coherences 2IxSx and 2IySy. This method, based on MLEV-32 and WALTZ-16 used in double resonance mode, is designed to effectively preserve all relevant MQ coherences simultaneously so that the interconversion between MQ operators can only arise through cross-relaxation. This is an essential requirement if we want to measure, for example, small cross-relaxation rates between MQ operators. We have treated the effects of coherent evolution during the HDR sequences by numerical simulations and Average Hamiltonian Theory (AHT) showing that, under most conditions, the dynamics of MQ coherences is not affected by coherent evolution. This result is proved experimentally on the 15N-1H pair of selectively deuterated tBoc-glycine. The effect of relaxation during HDR sequences leads to an effective relaxation superoperator which is explored by numerical simulations and predicted by Average Liouvillian Theory (ALT). Finally the HDR MLEV-32 sequence is applied to amide 1H-15N pairs in ubiquitin and KIX proteins. In the case of ubiquitin the HDR MLEV-32 experiments and the numerical simulations run with parameters obtained from the literature are in good agreement, suggesting that HDR sequences could be used as a tool to obtain information about the dynamics of the system.

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