Practical aspects of (1)H transverse paramagnetic relaxation enhancement measurements on macromolecules

J Magn Reson. 2007 Feb;184(2):185-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jmr.2006.10.003. Epub 2006 Nov 2.


The use of (1)H transverse paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE) has seen a resurgence in recent years as method for providing long-range distance information for structural studies and as a probe of large amplitude motions and lowly populated transient intermediates in macromolecular association. In this paper we discuss various practical aspects pertaining to accurate measurement of PRE (1)H transverse relaxation rates (Gamma(2)). We first show that accurate Gamma(2) rates can be obtained from a two time-point measurement without requiring any fitting procedures or complicated error estimations, and no additional accuracy is achieved from multiple time-point measurements recorded in the same experiment time. Optimal setting of the two time-points that minimize experimental errors is also discussed. Next we show that the simplistic single time-point measurement that has been commonly used in the literature, can substantially underestimate the true value of Gamma(2), unless a relatively long repetition delay is employed. We then examine the field dependence of Gamma(2), and show that Gamma(2) exhibits only a very weak field dependence at high magnetic fields typically employed in macromolecular studies. The theoretical basis for this observation is discussed. Finally, we investigate the impact of contamination of the paramagnetic sample by trace amounts (5%) of the corresponding diamagnetic species on the accuracy of Gamma(2) measurements. Errors in Gamma(2) introduced by such diamagnetic contamination are potentially sizeable, but can be significantly reduced by using a relatively short time interval for the two time-point Gamma(2) measurement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Biopolymers / chemistry*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Magnetics*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Protons*
  • Spin Labels


  • Biopolymers
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Protons
  • Spin Labels