Dynamics of lysine side-chain amino groups in a protein studied by heteronuclear 1H-15N NMR spectroscopy

Alexandre Esadze, Da Wei Li, Tianzhi Wang, Rafael Brüschweiler, Junji Iwahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Despite their importance in macromolecular interactions and functions, the dynamics of lysine side-chain amino groups in proteins are not well understood. In this study, we have developed the methodology for the investigations of the dynamics of lysine NH3+ groups by NMR spectroscopy and computation. By using 1H-15 N heteronuclear correlation experiments optimized for 15NH3+ moieties, we have analyzed the dynamic behavior of individual lysine NH3 + groups in human ubiquitin at 2 °C and pH 5. We modified the theoretical framework developed previously for CH3 groups and used it to analyze 15N relaxation data for the NH3+ groups. For six lysine NH3+ groups out of seven in ubiquitin, we have determined model-free order parameters, correlation times for bond rotation, and reorientation of the symmetry axis occurring on a pico-to nanosecond time scale. From CPMG relaxation dispersion experiment for lysine NH3+ groups, slower dynamics occurring on a millisecond time scale have also been detected for Lys27. The NH3+ groups of Lys48, which plays a key role as the linkage site in ubiquitination for proteasomal degradation, was found to be highly mobile with the lowest order parameter among the six NH3+ groups analyzed by NMR. We compared the experimental order parameters for the lysine NH3 + groups with those from a 1 μs molecular dynamics simulation in explicit solvent and found good agreement between the two. Furthermore, both the computer simulation and the experimental correlation times for the bond rotations of NH3+ groups suggest that their hydrogen bonding is highly dynamic with a subnanosecond lifetime. This study demonstrates the utility of combining NMR experiment and simulation for an in-depth characterization of the dynamics of these functionally most important side-chains of ubiquitin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-919
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamics of lysine side-chain amino groups in a protein studied by heteronuclear 1H-15N NMR spectroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this