Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) in combination with the recently developed double-histidine (dHis)-based Cu2+ spin labeling has provided valuable insights into protein structure and conformational dynamics. To relate sparse distance constraints measured by EPR to protein fluctuations in solution, modeling techniques are needed. In this work, we have developed force field parameters for Cu2+-nitrilotriacetic and Cu2+-iminodiacetic acid spin labels. We employed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to capture the atomic-level details of dHis-labeled protein fluctuations. The interspin distances extracted from 200 ns MD trajectories show good agreement with the experimental results. The MD simulations also illustrate the dramatic rigidity of the Cu2+ labels compared to the standard nitroxide spin label. Further, the relative orientations between spin-labeled sites were measured to provide insight into the use of double electron-electron resonance (DEER) methods for such labels. The relative mean angles, as well as the standard deviations of the relative angles, agree well in general with the spectral simulations published previously. The fluctuations of relative orientations help rationalize why orientation selectivity effects are minimal at X-band frequencies, but observable at the Q-band for such labels. In summary, the results show that by combining the experimental results with MD simulations precise information about protein conformations as well as flexibility can be obtained.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry