Theory and Applications of Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy to Biomembrane Structure and Dynamics
AdvisorBrown, Michael F.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractSolid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)is one of the premiere biophysical methods that can be applied for addressing the structure and dynamics of biomolecules, including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. It illustrates the general problem of determining the average biomolecular structure, including the motional mean-square amplitudes and rates of the fluctuations. Lineshape and relaxtion studies give us a view into the molecular properties under different environments. To help the understanding of NMR theory, both lineshape and relaxation experiments are conducted with hexamethylbezene (HMB). This chemical compound with a simple structure serves as a perfect test molecule. Because of its highly symmetric structure, its motions are not very difficult to understand. The results for HMB set benchmarks for other more complicated systems like membrane proteins. After accumulating a large data set on HMB, we also proceed to develop a completely new method of data analysis, which yields the spectral densities in a body-fixed frame revealing internal motions of the system. Among the possible applications of solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we study the light activation mechanism of visual rhodopsin in lipid membranes. As a prototype of G-protein-coupled receptors, which are a large class of membrane proteins, the cofactor isomerization is triggered by photon absorption, and the local structural change is then propagated to a large-scale conformational change of the protein. Facilitation of the binding of transducin then passes along the visual signal to downstream effector proteins like transducin. To study this process, we introduce 2H labels into the rhodopsin chromophore retinal and the C-terminal peptide of transducin to probe the local structure and dynamics of these two hotspots of the rhodopsin activation process. In addition to the examination of local sites with solid-state 2H NMR spectroscopy, wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) provides us the chance of looking at the overall conformational changes through difference scattering profiles. Although the resolution of this method is not as high as NMR spectroscopy, which gives information on atomic scale, the early activation probing is possible because of the short duration of the optical pump and X-ray probe lasers. We can thus visualize the energy dissipation process by observing and comparing the difference scattering profiles at different times after the light activation moments.
Degree ProgramGraduate College