Dec 23, 2013

SedNMR: On the Edge between Solution and Solid-State NMR

Sedimented samples (states) can be described as a "microcrystaline glass", which provide a new approach for the preparation of DNP samples. This was described in a post this year you can find here (

The following article gives more details about the approach.

Bertini, I., et al., SedNMR: on the edge between solution and solid-state NMR. Acc Chem Res, 2013. 46(9): p. 2059-69.

Solid-state NMR (SS-NMR) of proteins requires that those molecules be immobilized, usually by crystallization, freezing, or lyophilization. However, self-crowding can also slow molecular rotation sufficiently to prevent the nuclear interactions from averaging. To achieve self-crowding, researchers can use a centrifugal field to create a concentration gradient or use regular ultracentrifugation to produce highly concentrated, gel-like solutions. Thus sedimented solute NMR (SedNMR) provides a simple method to prepare biological samples for SS-NMR experiments with minimal perturbation. This method may also give researchers a way to investigate species that are not otherwise accessible by NMR. We induce the sedimentation in one of two ways: (1) by the extreme centrifugal force exerted during magic angle spinning (MAS-induced sedimentation or in situ) or (2) by an ultracentrifuge (UC-induced sedimentation or ex situ). Sedimentation is particularly useful in situations where it is difficult to obtain protein crystals. Furthermore, because the proteins remain in a largely hydrated state, the sedimented samples may provide SS-NMR spectra that have better resolution than the spectra from frozen solutions or lyophilized powders. If sedimentation is induced in situ, the same protein sample can be used for both solution and SS-NMR studies. Finally, we show that in situ SedNMR can be used to detect the NMR signals of large molecular adducts that have binding constants that are too weak to allow for the selective isolation and crystallization of the complexed species. We can selectively induce sedimentation for the heaviest molecular species. Because the complexed molecules are subtracted from the bulk solution, the reaction proceeds further toward the formation of complexes.