Developement of strategies for the isotopic labeling of methyl groups for the NMR study of large protein assemblies

Abstract : Solution NMR spectroscopy has been limited to small biological objects for a long time. Nowadays, it is unequivocally recognized that the strategy of specific isotope labeling of methyl groups in a perdeuterated protein has significantly extended the frontier of this technique. Indeed, proteins as large as 1 MDa could be investigated by NMR. Conversely, this strategy presents an important drawback consisting of the drastically reduced number of protonated probes. The project of this thesis falls within the framework of developing new methodologies to cope with this scarce structural information, relying on the simultaneous labeling of several methyl groups to increase the number of probes. For optimized combinatorial labeling, the choice of the ensemble of amino acids to label simultaneously and the precursors as well as the protocol for their incorporation have to be carefully studied. In this work, a new protocol was introduced for the scrambling-free and optimized isotopic labeling of AbId1(LV)proS methyl groups. In comparison to the “standard AbId1LV” labeling scheme, the proposed pattern induces a 2-fold decrease of number of Leu and Val NMR signals and enhances the intensity of detectable long-range nOes by a factor 4. The described protocol also permits the suppression of spurious correlations, especially harmful for structural studies based on detection/analysis of nOes. To make an efficient use of the obtained high quality NMR spectra using this protocol, assignment of the methyl groups signals is mandatory. Two strategies were then proposed. The first is suitable for systems whose molecular weight does not exceed 100 kDa. It relies on the use of isotopically linearized precursors (with different isotope topologies to discriminate each methyl group) to assign in a regio- and stereo-specific manner the isoleucine, leucine and valine methyl groups in a single step, employing an optimized “out and back” 13C-TOCSY pulse sequence. While the second, adapted to supra-molecular proteins (> 100 kDa), consists of optimizing the previously reported SeSAM approach (Sequence-Specific Assignment of Methyl groups by Mutagenesis). Indeed, thanks to the developed enriched culture medium for the specific labeling of Ala, the minimal required culture volume was significantly decreased, enabling the proteins expression in 24 well plates and their parallel purification in 96 well plates. This improved SeSAM version was estimated to allow the assignment of ca. 100 methyl cross-peaks in 2 weeks, including 4 days of NMR time and less than 2 k€ of isotopic materials. To illustrate the pertinence of using selectively protonated methyl groups, either in a single or combined fashion, several applications were presented, namely the real-time NMR study of self-assembly process of a ~0.5 MDa supra-molecular protein (PhTET-2). The use of combinatorial labeling for the detection of long-range nOes to up to 10 Å (8 Å) in proteins of 82 kDa (respectively 0.5 MDa) was also investigated. This same approach was exploited for the filtering of inter-monomeric long-range nOes in the same symmetrical and homo-oligomeric PhTET-2 protein.
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Rime Kerfah. Developement of strategies for the isotopic labeling of methyl groups for the NMR study of large protein assemblies. Biomolecules [q-bio.BM]. Université de Grenoble, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014GRENV043⟩. ⟨tel-01343865⟩

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