NMR spectroscopy to study dynamic protein structures

  • This doctoral thesis deals with the structural and dynamical NMR characterization of biomolecules, covering a broad range of proteins, from small peptides to large GPCRs proteins. This work consists of two projects, which are presented in chapter II and III. Chapter II is focused on the structural screening of peptides and small proteins ranging from 14 to 71 amino acids, while chapter III describes the structure and light dynamics of the disease relevant rhodopsin G90D mutant. The main method used to investigate both types of proteins is NMR spectroscopy. Both chapters comprise individual general introduction, materials and methods, results and discussion sections, and a final conclusion paragraph. ‘Chapter I: Methodological aspects of protein NMR spectroscopy’ presents an overview of different NMR methods developed for the rapid characterization of protein structure and dynamics. Multidimensional NMR, which is routinely used in structural biology, is indispensable for protein structure determination in solution. However, detailed information with resolution at the atomic level is time consuming and requires weeks of expensive measurement time, followed by the manual data analysis. Therefore, the development of time-saving NMR techniques is highly required for screening studies of a large amount of proteins, and can be also helpful for studying unstable biomolecules, as their short lifetime often restricts the experimental procedure. This chapter covers the two main approaches to accelerate a multidimensional NMR experiment: fast-pulsing techniques that aim to reduce the duration of an individual measurement, and non-uniform sampling technique (NUS), which was developed to reduce the overall number of increments in virtual time domains. A combination of both approaches, fast-pulsing and non-uniform sampling, allows speeding up the measurement time by 2-3 orders of magnitude. Furthermore, recently developed software called TA (targeted acquisition) combines various time-saving approaches, including fast-pulsing, non-uniform sampling and targeted acquisition. Targeted acquisition algorithm records a set of multidimensional NMR spectra in semi-interleaved incremental mode. This provides the ability to monitor the quality of the recorded spectra in real-time and therefore enables the completion of the experiments after the desired quality is achieved. Using this approach will greatly reduce the measurement time without losing important structural information. The implemented automated FLYA assignment further contributes to the rapid and simplified readout of the chemical shift assignment progress of the TA program. During this doctoral dissertation, the scientific collaboration with the TA software developer Prof. Vladislav Orekhov (Sweden) took place, and resulted in the successful establishing of this new NMR technology in the Schwalbe laboratory. TA is now routinely applied in Prof. Schwalbe group for the structure elucidation of small proteins. ‘Chapter II: Rapid NMR and biophysical characterization of small proteins’ describes the structural analysis of peptides and small proteins, which were recently identified within the framework of the Priority Program (SPP 2002). Due to technical limitations in detections of small systems and strict assumptions concerning the smallest size of the gene that can be translated, small open reading frames (sORFs) were excluded from the automated gene annotation for a very long time. Thanks to the newly developed computational and experimental approaches, the ability to identify and detect the small proteins consisting of less than approximately 70 amino acids sparked a growing scientific interest by microbiologist. In the past years, hundreds of new short protein sequences were discovered. Although some peptides were found to be involved in diverse essential biological processes, the functional elucidation of a large number of recently discovered peptides and small proteins remains a challenging task. It is well established that the structure of proteins is often linked to their function. However, the size of small constructs often restricts the possible diversity of secondary structure elements that might be adopted by a protein. Furthermore, as was shown for intrinsic discorded proteins (IDPs), the absence of a well-defined three-dimensional structure does not necessarily mean lack of function. Moreover, peptides, which are initially unstructured in the isolated form can fold in a stable structured conformation upon interaction with their biological partners. Solution state NMR spectroscopy is perfectly amenable for the structural characterization of systems of this size. It provides a rapid readout about the conformational state of small peptides unambiguously, distinguishing between folded, molten globule and unstructured conformations. During this doctoral thesis the workflow protocol for fast screening of peptides and small proteins was established and applied to 20 candidates ranging from 14 to 71 amino acids, which were identified and selected by six microbiological groups, all members of the Priority Program on small proteins (SPP2002) funded by the German research foundation (DFG). The screening protocol includes sample preparation and biochemical characterization. Peptides containing less than 30 amino acids were synthesized by solid phase synthesis (SPPS), while small proteins containing more than 30 amino acids were heterologously expressed in E. coli. ...

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Author:Nina Kubatova
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Harald SchwalbeORCiDGND, Clemens Glaubitz
Advisor:Harald Schwalbe
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2019/12/18
Year of first Publication:2019
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2019/12/11
Release Date:2019/12/20
Page Number:224
Institutes:Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie / 540 Chemie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht