Atomic Scale Structural Studies of Macromolecular Assemblies by Solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

J Vis Exp. 2017 Sep 17;(127):55779. doi: 10.3791/55779.


Supramolecular protein assemblies play fundamental roles in biological processes ranging from host-pathogen interaction, viral infection to the propagation of neurodegenerative disorders. Such assemblies consist in multiple protein subunits organized in a non-covalent way to form large macromolecular objects that can execute a variety of cellular functions or cause detrimental consequences. Atomic insights into the assembly mechanisms and the functioning of those macromolecular assemblies remain often scarce since their inherent insolubility and non-crystallinity often drastically reduces the quality of the data obtained from most techniques used in structural biology, such as X-ray crystallography and solution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). We here present magic-angle spinning solid-state NMR spectroscopy (SSNMR) as a powerful method to investigate structures of macromolecular assemblies at atomic resolution. SSNMR can reveal atomic details on the assembled complex without size and solubility limitations. The protocol presented here describes the essential steps from the production of 13C/15N isotope-labeled macromolecular protein assemblies to the acquisition of standard SSNMR spectra and their analysis and interpretation. As an example, we show the pipeline of a SSNMR structural analysis of a filamentous protein assembly.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins