Fluorescence and 13C NMR Determination of Side-Chain and Backbone Dynamics of Synthetic Melittin and Melittin Analogues in Isotropic Solvents

Arthur J. Weaver, Marvin D. Kemple, Franklyn G. Prendergast

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20 Scopus citations


The dynamics in isotropic solvents of selectively 13C labeled synthetic melittin and three analogues have been investigated by using NMR and fluorescence techniques both separately and in combination. In conjunction with the “model-free” approach to interpretation of NMR relaxation data [Lipari, G., & Szabo, A. (1982) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 104, 4546-4570], the availability of steady-state fluorescence anisotropy and lifetime data augment T1,T2, and NOE data to provide quantitative information about fluorophore dynamics in these peptides. A method is presented for using combined fluorescence and NMR data to obtain technique- and model-independent values for parameters describing local motion of 13C-labeled fluorophores in peptides and proteins. The dynamics of melittin and melittin analogues are found to be consistent with structural characteristics inferred from CD, fluorescence, and NMR spectral information presented in the preceding paper (Weaver et al., 1989). In particular, the mobility of the random coil peptide monomers is shown to be quite similar, while side-chain as well as peptide backbone motion in the aggregated or oligomeric species differs markedly among the analogues. For melittin itself, experimentally determined overall rotational correlation times for the monomer and tetramer agree very well with values predicted on the basis of solvent-accessible protein surface area. The local dynamics of selectively 13C-labeled Trp-19 and Gly-12 residues of melittin are also found to be consistent with peptide structure. In random coil melittin monomer, a specific model for the motion indicates that the Trp side chain moves through an approximate angle of ±71° about the β-γ bond with a correlation time of 159 ± 24 ps. In melittin tetramer, the indole moiety is spatially more confined with a flip angle of ±37°, yet demonstrates an increased rate of motion with a correlation time of 56 ± 8 ps. The constrained mobility of the Trp-19 side chain is consistent with motional constraints inferred from the X-ray structure of melittin tetramer. These results show that protein side-chain motion, even of moieties as large as indole, can occur on the picosecond time scale and that these motions are reasonably similar to those inferred from molecular dynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8624-8639
Number of pages16
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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