Electron Spin Resonance in Studies of Membranes and Proteins

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Science  12 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5502, pp. 266-269
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5502.266

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We provide a review of current electron spin resonance (ESR) techniques for studying basic molecular mechanisms in membranes and proteins by using nitroxide spin labels. In particular, nitroxide spin label studies with high-field/high-frequency ESR and two-dimensional Fourier transform ESR enable one to accurately determine distances in biomolecules, unravel the details of the complex dynamics in proteins, characterize the dynamic structure of membrane domains, and discriminate between bulk lipids and boundary lipids that coat transmembrane peptides or proteins; these studies can also provide time resolution to studies of functional dynamics of proteins. We illustrate these capabilities with recent examples.

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