Apparatus for NMR spectroscopy of encapsulated proteins

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Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase II
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3624 Market St., 5E, Philadelphia, PA, 19104
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(267) 499-2013
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DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Biomedical research continues to expand the use of detailed atomic-scale structure in developing a detailed understanding of the molecular basis for life and for disease. Tools for the identification of means for interv ention at the molecular level are of paramount importance. Modern nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy continues to be a central technique in the characterization of the structure and dynamics of proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes. Nevert heless, a significant fraction of the proteins that are known through the analysis of the genomic sequence are inaccessible to standard solution NMR methods. This is often because they are too large and therefore tumble too slowly for optimal NMR performan ce. In addition, initial tests of a high through-put strategy for solving structures by X-ray crystallography or by standard NMR spectroscopy indicate that the vast majority of proteins will simply fail to result in appropriate samples. Clearly, ancillary approaches are going to be required to fully implement a knowledge-based approach to fundamental problems in human health and disease. This proposal seeks to continue the development of a novel approach to using an NMR-based method. The primary idea is to simply arrange for the large protein molecule to tumble as a much smaller protein. This is achieved by encapsulating the protein in a reverse micelle system and dissolving the entire assembly in a low viscosity fluid such as liquid ethane. Protein assembli es as large as 200 kDa can, in principle, be made to tumble with sufficiently short correlation times to allow the full battery of existing triple resonance techniques to be applied, even without benefit of deuteration. Furthermore, proteins that tend to a ggregate or even form insoluble precipitates have been successfully encapsulated and proteins that are relatively unstable and therefore incompletely folded in vitro have been forced to fold in the confined space of the reverse micelle. Despite these succe ssful applications, the method has not been generally adopted by the NMR community. The reasons for this are clear: The apparatus necessary for the routine and safe preparation and manipulation of the highly pressurized and flammable samples that are neces sary is not commercially available. Progress during Phase I has seen the approach be largely implemented in a specialized laboratory setting and the results obtained thus far provide a tantalizing glimpse of the method's potential. This proposal seeks to r efine and extend prototype apparatus and methods developed during Phase I to allow academic and non-academic structural biologists employing NMR spectroscopy to use the approach and thereby gain access to proteins that are not amenable to standard NMR meth ods or to crystallography. We believe that the method to be fully developed here may provide a break-out technology in a variety of important arenas in structure-based biomedical research. Biomedical research continues to expand the use of detailed atomic- scale structure in developing a detailed understanding of the molecular basis for life and for disease. Tools for the identification of means for intervention at the molecular level are of paramount importance. This proposal seeks to continue the developme nt of a novel approach to structure determination by nuclear magnetic resonance. If successful, this technology could serve as a powerful platform for the rational design of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of an array of human diseases.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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