Long-range motional restrictions in a multidomain zinc-finger protein from anisotropic tumbling

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Science  12 May 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5212, pp. 886-889
DOI: 10.1126/science.7754375


Structural characterization of biomolecules in solution by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is based primarily on the use of interproton distances derived from homonuclear cross-relaxation experiments. Information about short time-scale dynamics, on the other hand, is obtained from relaxation rates of heteronuclear spin pairs such as 15N-1H. By combining the two types of data and utilizing the dependence of heteronuclear NMR relaxation rates on anisotropic diffusional rotational tumbling, it is possible to obtain structural information about long-range motional correlations between protein domains. This approach was applied to characterize the relative orientations and mobilities of the first three zinc-finger domains of the Xenopus transcription factor TFIIIA in aqueous solution. The data indicate that the motions of the individual zinc-finger domains are highly correlated on time scales shorter than 10 nanoseconds and that the average conformation of the three-finger polypeptide is elongated.

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