Time-resolved NMR spectroscopy is used to study changes in protein conformation based on the elapsed time after a change in the solvent composition of a protein solution. The use of a micromixer and a continuous-flow method is described where the contents of two capillary flows are mixed rapidly, and then the NMR spectra of the combined flow are recorded at precise time points. The distance after mixing the two fluids and flow rates define the solvent-protein interaction time; this method allows the measurement of NMR spectra at precise mixing time points independent of spectral acquisition time. Integration of a micromixer and a microcoil NMR probe enables low-microliter volumes to be used without losing significant sensitivity in the NMR measurement. Ubiquitin, the model compound, changes its conformation from native to A-state at low pH and in 40% or higher methanol/water solvents. Proton NMR resonances of the His-68 and the Tyr-59 of ubiquitin are used to probe the conformational changes. Mixing ubiquitin and methanol solutions under low pH at microliter per minute flow rates yields both native and A-states. As the flow rate decreases, yielding longer reaction times, the population of the A-state increases. The micromixer-NMR system can probe reaction kinetics on a time scale of seconds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry