Assignment strategies for large proteins by magic-angle spinning NMR: The 21-kDa disulfide-bond-forming enzyme DsbA

Lindsay J. Sperling, Deborah A. Berthold, Terry L. Sasser, Victoria Jeisy-Scott, Chad M. Rienstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present strategies for chemical shift assignments of large proteins by magic-angle spinning solid-state NMR, using the 21-kDa disulfide-bond-forming enzyme DsbA as prototype. Previous studies have demonstrated that complete de novo assignments are possible for proteins up to ~17 kDa, and partial assignments have been performed for several larger proteins. Here we show that combinations of isotopic labeling strategies, high field correlation spectroscopy, and three-dimensional (3D) and four-dimensional (4D) backbone correlation experiments yield highly confident assignments for more than 90% of backbone resonances in DsbA. Samples were prepared as nanocrystalline precipitates by a dialysis procedure, resulting in heterogeneous linewidths below 0.2 ppm. Thus, high magnetic fields, selective decoupling pulse sequences, and sparse isotopic labeling all improved spectral resolution. Assignments by amino acid type were facilitated by particular combinations of pulse sequences and isotopic labeling; for example, transferred echo double resonance experiments enhanced sensitivity for Pro and Gly residues; [2-13C]glycerol labeling clarified Val, Ile, and Leu assignments; in-phase anti-phase correlation spectra enabled interpretation of otherwise crowded Glx/Asx side-chain regions; and 3D NCACX experiments on [2-13C]glycerol samples provided unique sets of aromatic (Phe, Tyr, and Trp) correlations. Together with high-sensitivity CANCOCA 4D experiments and CANCOCX 3D experiments, unambiguous backbone walks could be performed throughout the majority of the sequence. At 189 residues, DsbA represents the largest monomeric unit for which essentially complete solid-state NMR assignments have so far been achieved. These results will facilitate studies of nanocrystalline DsbA structure and dynamics and will enable analysis of its 41-kDa covalent complex with the membrane protein DsbB, for which we demonstrate a high-resolution two-dimensional 13C-13C spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-282
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 4 2010


  • Chemical shift assignment
  • Correlation spectroscopy
  • Dipolar recoupling
  • Selective pulses
  • Solid-state NMR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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