Protein Side-Chain-DNA Contacts Probed by Fast Magic-Angle Spinning NMR

J Phys Chem B. 2020 Dec 10;124(49):11089-11097. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.0c08150. Epub 2020 Nov 25.


Protein-nucleic acid interactions are essential in a variety of biological events ranging from the replication of genomic DNA to the synthesis of proteins. Noncovalent interactions guide such molecular recognition events, and protons are often at the center of them, particularly due to their capability of forming hydrogen bonds to the nucleic acid phosphate groups. Fast magic-angle spinning experiments (100 kHz) reduce the proton NMR line width in solid-state NMR of fully protonated protein-DNA complexes to such an extent that resolved proton signals from side-chains coordinating the DNA can be detected. We describe a set of NMR experiments focusing on the detection of protein side-chains from lysine, arginine, and aromatic amino acids and discuss the conclusions that can be obtained on their role in DNA coordination. We studied the 39 kDa enzyme of the archaeal pRN1 primase complexed with DNA and characterize protein-DNA contacts in the presence and absence of bound ATP molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Proteins*
  • Protons*


  • Proteins
  • Protons