Determination of the oligomeric number and intermolecular distances of membrane protein assemblies by anisotropic 1H-driven spin diffusion NMR spectroscopy

J Am Chem Soc. 2006 Jun 7;128(22):7242-51. doi: 10.1021/ja0603406.


Determination of the high-resolution quaternary structure of oligomeric membrane proteins requires knowledge of both the oligomeric number and intermolecular distances. The centerband-only detection of exchange (CODEX) technique has been shown to enable the extraction of the oligomeric number through the equilibrium exchange intensity at long mixing times. To obtain quantitative distances, we now provide an analysis of the mixing-time-dependent CODEX intensities using the 1H-driven spin diffusion theory. The exchange curve is fit to a rate equation, where the rate constants are proportional to the square of the dipolar coupling and the spectral overlap integral between the exchanging spins. Using a number of 13C- and 19F-labeled crystalline model compounds with known intermolecular distances, we empirically determined the overlap integrals of 13C and 19F CODEX for specific spinning speeds and chemical shift anisotropies. These consensus overlap integral values can be applied to structurally unknown systems to determine distances. Applying the 19F CODEX experiment and analysis, we studied the transmembrane peptide of the M2 protein (M2TMP) of influenza A virus bound to 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphatidylcholine bilayers. The experiment proved for the first time that M2TMP associates as tetramers in lipid bilayers, similar to its oligomeric state in detergent micelles. Moreover, the nearest-neighbor interhelical F-F distance between (4-19F)Phe30 is 7.9-9.5 angstroms. This distance constrains the orientation and the packing of the helices in the tetrameric bundle and supports the structural model derived from previous solid-state NMR 15N orientational data. Thus, the CODEX technique presents a general method for determining the oligomeric number and intermolecular distances in the approximately 10 angstroms range in membrane proteins and other complex biological assemblies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Deuterium Exchange Measurement
  • Diffusion
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Models, Chemical
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Spin Labels
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / chemistry


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • M2 protein, Influenza A virus
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Spin Labels
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine