Development and application of pulsed dipolar EPR spectroscopy for physiological conditions

  • Pulsed dipolar (PD) EPR spectroscopy is an established and reliable tool for the investigation of biomolecules. In terms of long distance and orientation measurements, it is one of the leading methods and further fields of application are constantly being explored. The distances that can be detected with PD EPR also correspond to the range in which almost all important biomolecule interactions occur. In the transition from in vitro spectroscopy to in-cell spectroscopy, the power of PD EPR spectroscopy is particularly evident. It is non-invasive, more sensitive than NMR, and does not exhibit background signals from diamagnetic molecules. In particular, the absence of background signals is of great importance given the high density of molecules within cellular environment. However, like any other spectroscopic method, PD EPR has certain limitations. Owing to the intrinsically fast electron spin echo dephasing at higher temperature, these experiments are commonly carried out in frozen solutions at about 50 K. This temperature is far away from the physiological conditions and the freezing additives used, e.g. glycols, can further influence the structure. To enable measurements with and within living organisms, it is therefore necessary to ascend from the cold depths of the frozen state. At the same time, one has to adapt the spin tags for the desired application. Established nitroxides commonly used for EPR studies are typically susceptible to reduction. Thus, for studies under physiological conditions, e.g. in the cell, one has to fight against the reductive environment in the cell and somehow protect the spin labels. Initial published in-cell experiments within the research group and investigations of homogeneously distributed labeled double-stranded (ds) ‐DNA samples in solid matrices showed promising results and enabled pulsed measurement in the temperature range of 50‐ 295 K. It could also be demonstrated that spherical shielded nitroxides have a significantly longer life span in cellular environments than non-protected ones and first nuclear acids were measured in cell. Based on these results, we have gone further to overcome the standing limitations and developed the use of PD EPR spectroscopy. This work addresses these challenges with the overall goal of advancing the applications of PD EPR spectroscopy for studying biomolecules under physiological conditions. We have focused on four different approaches. The results of these studies were published in various publications. They are presented and discussed together with further studies and put into the context of research conducted before and after the authors' publications. In approach 1, we fought against the two main obstacles for using pulsed dipolar spectroscopy at ambient conditions – minimizing phase memory time T2 and averaging of the anisotropic dipolar coupling by rotational diffusion. We focused on an immobilization approach, while using rigid spin labels at same time. Besidesto the distance information, the incorporated rigid spin labels will give additional angular constrains and information about the molecular dynamics. In approach 2, we focused on the on-site and on-demand formation of nitroxide spin labels using light-sensitive alkyl protection groups. This a very mild and efficient procedure that will hardly interfere with sensitive functional groups present in oligonucleotides or peptides. By establishing this method and using coumarin protecting groups plus two-photon excitation, this property may offer the potential to generate spin labels with very high levels of spatial and temporal resolution. For approach 3, we used paramagnetic Gd3+ -ions as intrinsically stable labels, which are not reducible within a cellular environment. Easy to mix and bound to encodable lanthanide binding tags within the molecule Interleucin 1β, we were able to measure distances between two tags with PELDOR spectroscopy. We tested the extent to which this system is suitable for in-cell measurements. Finally, we focus on methods for easier labeling by using non-covalentlabeling techniques. One of these is the novel nitroxide G´ for site-directed spin labeling of nucleic acids, especially for RNA. This spin label is sterically hindered, easy to build and binding occurs in seconds by simply mixing the spin label with the target. For large RNAs, another easy-to-mix and noncovalent spin-labeling strategy will be experimentally accompanied and presented. The approaches and results described here are intended to demonstrate that the study of the biological functions of biomolecules under physiological conditions by pulsed EPR spectroscopy is feasible and operational. In combination, they will enable the life sciences to make further and faster progress in the search for the molecular master plan.

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Author:Markus Kallis geb. GränzGND
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Thomas F. PrisnerORCiD, Snorri Thor SigurdssonORCiD
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2022/10/27
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2022/10/25
Release Date:2022/11/22
Page Number:259
Dissertation enthält folgende Aufsätze (Verlagsversionen): 
Material from: 

Wiley (VoR): 
Gränz, M., Erlenbach, N., Spindler, P., Gophane, D., Stelzl, L.S., Sigurdsson, S.Th., and Prisner,
T.F. (2018): Dynamics of Nucleic Acids at room temperature reveales by pulsed EPR. 
In: Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., Volume 57 (2018), Issue 33, Seite: 10540-10543. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201803682

Weinrich, T., Gränz, M., Grünewald, C., Prisner, T. F. and Göbel, M. W. (2016), Synthesis of a
Cytidine Phosphoramidite with Protected Nitroxide Spin Label for EPR Experiments with RNA. 
In: Eur. J. Org. Chem. Volume 2017, Issue 3, Seite: 491 – 496. doi: 10.1002/ejoc.201601174

Seven, I., Weinrich, T., Gränz, M., Grünewald, C., Brüß, S., Krstić, I., Prisner, T. F., Heckel, A.
and Göbel, M. W. (2014), Photolabile Protecting Groups for Nitroxide Spin Labels.
In: Eur. J. Org.Chem., Volume 2014, Issue 19, Seite: 4037 - 4043. DOI: 10.1002/ejoc.201301692

Springerlink (VoR): 
Schnorr, K.A., Gophane, S.B., Helmling, C., Cetiner, E., Pasemann, K., Fürtig, B., Wacker, A.,
Qureshi, N.S., Gränz, M., Barthelmes, D., Jonker, H.R.A., Stirnal, E., Sigurdsson, S.Th.,
Schwalbe, H., (2017): Impact of spin label rigidity on extent and accuracy of distance
informazion from PRE data. 
In: Journal Biomol NMR., Volume 68 (2017), Seite: 53-63 . DOI:10.1007/s10858-017-0114-9

Gränz, M., Barthelmes, D., Barthelmes, K., Allen, K.N., Imperiali, B., Prisner, T. F. and Schwalbe,
H. (2015), Encoded loop-lanthanide-binding tags for long-range distance measurements in
proteins by NMR and EPR spectroscopy. 
In: Journal Biomol. NMR, 63 (2015), Seite: 275 – 282. DOI: 10.1007/s10858-015-9984-x

Royal Society of Chemistry:
Reproduced from 
Kamble, N. R., Gränz, M., Prisner, T. F., Sigurdsson, S. Th. (2016), Noncovalent and sitedirectedspin labeling of duplex RNA. 
In: Chem. Commun., Volume 52 (2016)  Issue 100, 14442 – 14445. DOI: 10.1039/C6CC08387K
with permission from the Royal Society of Chemistry
Institutes:Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie / 540 Chemie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht