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Title: Dynamics of Hydrophobic Core Phenylalanine Residues Probed by Solid-State Deuteron NMR

We conducted a detailed investigation of the dynamics of two phenylalanine side chains in the hydrophobic core of the villin headpiece subdomain protein (HP36) in the hydrated powder state over the 298–80 K temperature range. We utilized static deuteron NMR measurements of longitudinal relaxation and line shapes supplemented with computational modeling. The temperature dependence of the relaxation times reveals the presence of two main mechanisms that can be attributed to the ring-flips, dominating at high temperatures, and small-angle fluctuations, dominating at low temperatures. The relaxation is non- exponential at all temperatures with the extent of non-exponentiality increasing from higher to lower temperatures. This behavior suggests a distribution of conformers with unique values of activation energies. The central values of the activation energies for the ring-flipping motions are among the smallest reported for aromatic residues in peptides and proteins and point to a very mobile hydrophobic core. The analysis of the widths of the distributions, in combination with the earlier results on the dynamics of flanking methyl groups (Vugmeyster et al., J. Phys. Chem. 2013, 117, 6129–6137), suggests that the hydrophobic core undergoes concerted fluctuations. There is a pronounced effect of dehydration on the ring-flipping motions, which shifts the distribution towardmore » more rigid conformers. The cross-over temperature between the regions of dominance of the small-angle fluctuations and ring-flips shifts from 195 K in the hydrated protein to 278 K in the dry one. This result points to the role of solvent in the onset of the concerted fluctuations of the core and highlights aromatic residues as markers of the protein dynamical transitions.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1520-6106; 43290; KP1704020
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Chemistry. B, Condensed Matter, Materials, Surfaces, Interfaces and Biophysical Chemistry; Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 47
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory