Solid-State NMR Spectra of Lipid-Anchored Proteins under Magic Angle Spinning

Solid-state NMR is a promising tool for elucidating membrane-related biological phenomena. We achieved the measurement of high-resolution solid-state NMR spectra for a lipid-anchored protein embedded in lipid bilayers under magic angle spinning (MAS). To date, solid-state NMR measurements of lipid-anchored proteins have not been accomplished due to the difficulty in supplying sufficient amount of stable isotope labeled samples in the overexpression of lipid-anchored proteins requiring complex posttranslational modification. We designed a pseudo lipid-anchored protein in which the protein component was expressed in E. coli and attached to a chemically synthesized lipid-anchor mimic. Using two types of membranes, liposomes and bicelles, we demonstrated different types of insertion procedures for lipid-anchored protein into membranes. In the liposome sample, we were able to observe the cross-polarization and the 13C–13C chemical shift correlation spectra under MAS, indicating that the liposome sample can be used to analyze molecular interactions using dipolar-based NMR experiments. In contrast, the bicelle sample showed sufficient quality of spectra through scalar-based experiments. The relaxation times and protein–membrane interaction were capable of being analyzed in the bicelle sample. These results demonstrated the applicability of two types of sample system to elucidate the roles of lipid-anchors in regulating diverse biological phenomena.