High Pressure ZZ-Exchange NMR Reveals Key Features of Protein Folding Transition States Journal Article uri icon

DCO ID 11121/5934-6184-8059-7586-CC

is Contribution to the DCO

  • YES

year of publication

  • 2016


  • Understanding protein folding mechanisms and their sequence dependence requires the determination of residue-specific apparent kinetic rate constants for the folding and unfolding reactions. Conventional two-dimensional NMR, such as HSQC experiments, can provide residue-specific information for proteins. However, folding is generally too fast for such experiments. ZZ-exchange NMR spectroscopy allows determination of folding and unfolding rates on much faster time scales, yet even this regime is not fast enough for many protein folding reactions. The application of high hydrostatic pressure slows folding by orders of magnitude due to positive activation volumes for the folding reaction. We combined high pressure perturbation with ZZ-exchange spectroscopy on two autonomously folding protein domains derived from the ribosomal protein, L9. We obtained residue-specific apparent rates at 2500 bar for the N-terminal domain of L9 (NTL9), and rates at atmospheric pressure for a mutant of the C-terminal domain (CTL9) from pressure dependent ZZ-exchange measurements. Our results revealed that NTL9 folding is almost perfectly two-state, while small deviations from two-state behavior were observed for CTL9. Both domains exhibited large positive activation volumes for folding. The volumetric properties of these domains reveal that their transition states contain most of the internal solvent excluded voids that are found in the hydrophobic cores of the respective native states. These results demonstrate that by coupling it with high pressure, ZZ-exchange can be extended to investigate a large number of protein conformational transitions.


  • 138


  • 46