- Structure and dynamics of the deoxyguanosine-sensing riboswitch studied by NMR-spectroscopy (2011)
- The mfl-riboswitch regulates expression of ribonucleotide reductase subunit in Mesoplasma florum by binding to 2´-deoxyguanosine and thereby promoting transcription termination. We characterized the structure of the ligand-bound aptamer domain by NMR spectroscopy and compared the mfl-aptamer to the aptamer domain of the closely related purine-sensing riboswitches. We show that the mfl-aptamer accommodates the extra 2´-deoxyribose unit of the ligand by forming a more relaxed binding pocket than these found in the purine-sensing riboswitches. Tertiary structures of the xpt-aptamer bound to guanine and of the mfl-aptamer bound to 2´-deoxyguanosine exhibit very similar features, although the sequence of the mfl-aptamer contains several alterations compared to the purine-aptamer consensus sequence. These alterations include the truncation of a hairpin loop which is crucial for complex formation in all purine-sensing riboswitches characterized to date. We further defined structural features and ligand binding requirements of the free mfl-aptamer and found that the presence of Mg2+ is not essential for complex formation, but facilitates ligand binding by promoting pre-organization of key structural motifs in the free aptamer.
- High-resolution NMR structure of an RNA model system: the 14-mer cUUCGg tetraloop hairpin RNA (2009)
- We present a high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) solution structure of a 14-mer RNA hairpin capped by cUUCGg tetraloop. This short and very stable RNA presents an important model system for the study of RNA structure and dynamics using NMR spectroscopy, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and RNA force-field development. The extraordinary high precision of the structure (root mean square deviation of 0.3 Å) could be achieved by measuring and incorporating all currently accessible NMR parameters, including distances derived from nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) intensities, torsion-angle dependent homonuclear and heteronuclear scalar coupling constants, projection-angle-dependent cross-correlated relaxation rates and residual dipolar couplings. The structure calculations were performed with the program CNS using the ARIA setup and protocols. The structure quality was further improved by a final refinement in explicit water using OPLS force field parameters for non-bonded interactions and charges. In addition, the 2'-hydroxyl groups have been assigned and their conformation has been analyzed based on NOE contacts. The structure currently defines a benchmark for the precision and accuracy amenable to RNA structure determination by NMR spectroscopy. Here, we discuss the impact of various NMR restraints on structure quality and discuss in detail the dynamics of this system as previously determined.
- Atomic-Level Structure Characterization of an Ultrafast Folding Mini-Protein Denatured State (2012)
- Atomic-level analyses of non-native protein ensembles constitute an important aspect of protein folding studies to reach a more complete understanding of how proteins attain their native form exhibiting biological activity. Previously, formation of hydrophobic clusters in the 6 M urea-denatured state of an ultrafast folding mini-protein known as TC5b from both photo-CIDNP NOE transfer studies and FCS measurements was observed. Here, we elucidate the structural properties of this mini-protein denatured in 6 M urea performing 15N NMR relaxation studies together with a thorough NOE analysis. Even though our results demonstrate that no elements of secondary structure persist in the denatured state, the heterogeneous distribution of R2 rate constants together with observing pronounced heteronuclear NOEs along the peptide backbone reveals specific regions of urea-denatured TC5b exhibiting a high degree of structural rigidity more frequently observed for native proteins. The data are complemented with studies on two TC5b point mutants to verify the importance of hydrophobic interactions for fast folding. Our results corroborate earlier findings of a hydrophobic cluster present in urea-denatured TC5b comprising both native and non-native contacts underscoring their importance for ultra rapid folding. The data assist in finding ways of interpreting the effects of pre-existing native and/or non-native interactions on the ultrafast folding of proteins; a fact, which might have to be considered when defining the starting conditions for molecular dynamics simulation studies of protein folding.
- 13C-direct detected NMR experiments for the sequential J-based resonance assignment of RNA oligonucleotides (2010)
- We present here a set of 13C-direct detected NMR experiments to facilitate the resonance assignment of RNA oligonucleotides. Three experiments have been developed: (1) the (H)CC-TOCSY-experiment utilizing a virtual decoupling scheme to assign the intraresidual ribose 13C-spins, (2) the (H)CPC-experiment that correlates each phosphorus with the C40 nuclei of adjacent nucleotides via J(C,P) couplings and (3) the (H)CPC-CCH-TOCSY-experiment that correlates the phosphorus nuclei with the respective C10,H10 ribose signals. The experiments were applied to two RNA hairpin structures. The current set of 13C-direct detected experiments allows direct and unambiguous assignment of the majority of the hetero nuclei and the identification of the individual ribose moieties following their sequential assignment. Thus, 13C-direct detected NMR methods constitute useful complements to the conventional 1H-detected approach for the resonance assignment of oligonucleotides that is often hindered by the limited chemical shift dispersion. The developed methods can also be applied to large deuterated RNAs. Keywords: NMR spectroscopy , Direct carbon , detection , RNA