Preparation of a protein sample for solid-state NMR is in many aspects similar to solution-state NMR approaches, mainly with respect to the need for stable isotope labeling. But the possibility of using solid-state NMR to investigate membrane proteins in (native) lipids adds the important requirement of adapted membrane-reconstitution schemes. Also, dynamic nuclear polarization and paramagnetic NMR in solids need specific schemes using metal ions and radicals. Sample sedimentation has enabled structural investigations of objects inaccessible to other structural techniques, but rotor filling using sedimentation has become increasingly complex with smaller and smaller rotors, as needed for higher and higher magic-angle spinning (MAS) frequencies. Furthermore, solid-state NMR can investigate very large proteins and their complexes without the concomitant increase in line widths, motivating the use of selective labeling and unlabeling strategies, as well as segmental labeling, to decongest spectra. The possibility of investigating sub-milligram amounts of protein today using advanced fast MAS techniques enables alternative protein synthesis schemes such as cell-free expression. Here we review these specific aspects of solid-state NMR sample preparation.
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