Advanced solid-state NMR approaches for structure determination of membrane proteins and amyloid fibrils

Acc Chem Res. 2013 Sep 17;46(9):2080-8. doi: 10.1021/ar4000168. Epub 2013 May 10.


Solid-state NMR (SSNMR) spectroscopy has become an important technique for studying the biophysics and structure biology of proteins. This technique is especially useful for insoluble membrane proteins and amyloid fibrils, which are essential for biological functions and are associated with human diseases. In the past few years, as major contributors to the rapidly advancing discipline of biological SSNMR, we have developed a family of methods for high-resolution structure determination of microcrystalline, fibrous, and membrane proteins. Key developments include order-of-magnitude improvements in sensitivity, resolution, instrument stability, and sample longevity under data collection conditions. These technical advances now enable us to apply new types of 3D and 4D experiments to collect atomic-resolution structural restraints in a site-resolved manner, such as vector angles, chemical shift tensors, and internuclear distances, throughout large proteins. In this Account, we present the technological advances in SSNMR approaches towards protein structure determination. We also describe the application of those methods for large membrane proteins and amyloid fibrils. Particularly, the SSNMR measurements of an integral membrane protein DsbB support the formation of a charge-transfer complex between DsbB and ubiquinone during the disulfide bond transfer pathways. The high-resolution structure of the DsbA-DsbB complex demonstrates that the joint calculation of X-ray and SSNMR restraints for membrane proteins with low-resolution crystal structure is generally applicable. The SSNMR investigations of α-synuclein fibrils from both wild type and familial mutants reveal that the structured regions of α-synuclein fibrils include the early-onset Parkinson's disease mutation sites. These results pave the way to understanding the mechanism of fibrillation in Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid / chemistry*
  • Coordination Complexes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*


  • Amyloid
  • Coordination Complexes
  • Membrane Proteins