Determination of the rotational diffusion tensor of macromolecules in solution from nmr relaxation data with a combination of exact and approximate methods--application to the determination of interdomain orientation in multidomain proteins

J Magn Reson. 2001 Apr;149(2):204-17. doi: 10.1006/jmre.2001.2295.


In this paper we present a method for determining the rotational diffusion tensor from NMR relaxation data using a combination of approximate and exact methods. The approximate method, which is computationally less intensive, computes values of the principal components of the diffusion tensor and estimates the Euler angles, which relate the principal axis frame of the diffusion tensor to the molecular frame. The approximate values of the principal components are then used as starting points for an exact calculation by a downhill simplex search for the principal components of the tensor over a grid of the space of Euler angles relating the diffusion tensor frame to the molecular frame. The search space of Euler angles is restricted using the tensor orientations calculated using the approximate method. The utility of this approach is demonstrated using both simulated and experimental relaxation data. A quality factor that determines the extent of the agreement between the measured and predicted relaxation data is provided. This approach is then used to estimate the relative orientation of SH3 and SH2 domains in the SH(32) dual-domain construct of Abelson kinase complexed with a consolidated ligand.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / chemistry*
  • Solutions
  • Ubiquitins / chemistry*
  • src Homology Domains


  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Solutions
  • Ubiquitins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl