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Solid-state NMR spectroscopy detects interactions between tryptophan residues of the E. coli sugar transporter GalP and the alpha-anomer of the D-glucose substrate

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/01/2008
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number4
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1236-44
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


An experimental approach is described in which high resolution 13C solid-state NMR (SSNMR) spectroscopy has been used to detect interactions between specific residues of membrane-embedded transport proteins and weakly binding noncovalent ligands. This procedure has provided insight into the binding site for the substrate D-glucose in the Escherichia coli sugar transport protein GalP. Cross-polarization magic-angle spinning (CP-MAS) SSNMR spectra of GalP in its natural membrane at 4 degrees C indicated that the alpha- and beta-anomers of D-[1-(13)C]glucose were bound by GalP with equal affinity and underwent fast exchange between the free and bound environments. Further experiments confirmed that by lowering the measurement temperature to -10 degrees C, peaks could be detected selectively from the substrate when restrained within the binding site. Dipolar-assisted rotational resonance (DARR) SSNMR experiments at -10 degrees C showed a selective interaction between the alpha-anomer of D-[1-(13)C]glucose and 13C-labels within [13C]tryptophan-labeled GalP, which places the carbon atom at C-1 in the alpha-anomer of D-glucose to within 6 A of the carbonyl carbon of one or more tryptophan residues in the protein. No interaction was detected for the beta-isomer. The role of tryptophan residues in substrate binding was investigated further in CP-MAS experiments to detect D-[1-(13)C]glucose binding to the GalP mutants W371F and W395F before and after the addition of the inhibitor forskolin. The results suggest that both mutants bind D-glucose with similar affinities, but have different affinities for forskolin. This work highlights a useful general experimental strategy for probing the binding sites of membrane proteins, using methodology which overcomes the problems associated with the unfavorable dynamics of weak ligands.