Methyl probes in proteins for determining ligand binding mode in weak protein–ligand complexes

Biswaranjan Mohanty, Julien Orts, Geqing Wang, Stefan Nebl, Wesam S. Alwan, Bradley C. Doak, Martin L. Williams, Begoña Heras, Mehdi Mobli, Martin J. Scanlon

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Structures of protein–ligand complexes provide critical information for drug design. Most protein–ligand complex structures are determined using X-ray crystallography, but where crystallography is not able to generate a structure for a complex, NMR is often the best alternative. However, the available tools to enable rapid and robust structure determination of protein–ligand complexes by NMR are currently limited. This leads to situations where projects are either discontinued or pursued without structural data, rendering the task more difficult. We previously reported the NMR Molecular Replacement (NMR2) approach that allows the structure of a protein–ligand complex to be determined without requiring the cumbersome task of protein resonance assignment. Herein, we describe the NMR2 approach to determine the binding pose of a small molecule in a weak protein–ligand complex by collecting sparse protein methyl-to-ligand NOEs from a selectively labeled protein sample and an unlabeled ligand. In the selective labeling scheme all methyl containing residues of the protein are protonated in an otherwise deuterated background. This allows measurement of intermolecular NOEs with greater sensitivity using standard NOESY pulse sequences instead of isotope-filtered NMR experiments. This labelling approach is well suited to the NMR2 approach and extends its utility to include larger protein–ligand complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11231
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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