Concordance of residual dipolar couplings, backbone order parameters and crystallographic B-factors for a small alpha/beta protein: a unified picture of high probability, fast atomic motions in proteins

J Mol Biol. 2006 Feb 3;355(5):879-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2005.11.042.


Using ensemble refinement of the third immunoglobulin binding domain (GB3) of streptococcal protein G (a small alpha/beta protein of 56 residues), we demonstrate that backbone (N-H, N-C', Calpha-Halpha, Calpha-C') residual dipolar coupling data in five independent alignment media, generalized order parameters from 15N relaxation data, and B-factors from a high-resolution (1.1A), room temperature crystal structure are entirely consistent with one another within experimental error. The optimal ensemble size representation is between four and eight, as assessed by complete cross-validation of the residual dipolar couplings. Thus, in the case of GB3, all three observables reflect the same low-amplitude anisotropic motions arising from fluctuations in backbone phi/psi torsion angles in the picosecond to nanosecond regime in both solution and crystalline environments, yielding a unified picture of fast, high-probability atomic motions in proteins. An understanding of these motions is crucial for understanding the impact of protein dynamics on protein function, since they provide part of the driving force for triggered conformational changes that occur, for example, upon ligand binding, signal transduction and enzyme catalysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Protein Conformation*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • IgG Fc-binding protein, Streptococcus