Double-lanthanide-binding tags: design, photophysical properties, and NMR applications.
ABSTRACT Lanthanide-binding tags (LBTs) are peptide sequences of up to 20 encoded amino acids that tightly and selectively complex lanthanide ions and can sensitize terbium (Tb3+) luminescence. On the basis of these properties, it was predicted that increasing the number of bound lanthanides would improve the capabilities of these tags. Therefore, using a structurally well-characterized single-LBT sequence as a starting point, a "double-LBT" (dLBT), which concatenates two lanthanide-binding motifs, was designed. Herein we report the generation of dLBT peptides and luminescence and NMR studies on a dLBT-tagged ubiquitin fusion protein. These lanthanide-bound constructs are shown to be improved luminescent tags with avid lanthanide binding and up to 3-fold greater luminescence intensity. NMR experiments were conducted on the ubiquitin construct, wherein bound paramagnetic lanthanides were used as alignment-inducing agents to gain residual dipolar couplings, which are valuable restraints for macromolecular structure determination. Together, these results indicate that dLBTs will be valuable chemical tools for biophysical applications leading to new approaches for studying the structure, function, and dynamics of proteins.
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ABSTRACT: The previously published IDA-SH and NTA-SH tags are small synthetic lanthanide-binding tags derived from cysteine, which afford site-specific lanthanide labelling by disulfide-bond formation with a cysteine residue of the target protein. Following attachment to a single cysteine in an α-helix, sizeable pseudocontact shifts (PCS) can be observed, if the lanthanide is immobilized by additional coordination to a negatively charged amino-acid side chain that is located in a neighboring turn of the helix. To identify the best labelling strategy for PCS measurements, we performed a systematic study, where IDA-SH or NTA-SH tags were ligated to a cysteine residue in position i of an α-helix, and aspartate or glutamate residues were placed in the positions i - 4 or i + 4. The largest anisotropy components of the magnetic susceptibility tensor were observed for an NTA-SH tag in position i with a glutamate residue in position i - 4. While the NTA-SH tag produced sizeable PCSs regardless of the presence of nearby carboxyl groups of the protein, the IDA-SH tag generated a good lanthanide binding site only if an aspartate was placed in position i + 4. The findings provide a firm basis for the design of site-directed mutants that are suitable for the reliable generation of PCSs in proteins with paramagnetic lanthanides.Journal of Biomolecular NMR 12/2012; · 2.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lanthanide-binding tags (LBTs), peptide-based coexpression tags with high affinity for lanthanide ions, have previously been applied as luminescent probes to provide phasing for structure determination in X-ray crystallography and to provide restraints for structural refinement and distance information in NMR. The native affinity of LBTs for Gd(3+) indicates their potential as the basis for engineering of peptide-based MRI agents. However, the lanthanide coordination state that enhances luminescence and affords tightest binding would not be ideal for applications of LBTs as contrast agents, due to the exclusion of water from the inner coordination sphere. Herein, we use structurally defined LBTs as the starting point for re-engineering the first coordination shell of the lanthanide ion to provide for high contrast through direct coordination of water to Gd(3+) (resulting in the single LBT peptide, m-sLBT). The effectiveness of LBTs as MRI contrast agents was examined in vitro through measurement of binding affinity and proton relaxivity. For imaging applications that require targeted observation, fusion to specific protein partners is desirable. However, a fusion protein comprising a concatenated double LBT (dLBT) as an N-terminal tag for the model protein ubiquitin had reduced relaxivity compared with the free dLBT peptide. This limitation was overcome by the use of a construct based on the m-sLBT sequence (q-dLBT-ubiquitin). The structural basis for the enhanced contrast was examined by comparison of the X-ray crystal structure of xq-dLBT-ubiquitin (wherein two tryptophan residues are replaced with serine), to that of dLBT-ubiquitin. The structure shows that the backbone conformational dynamics of the MRI variant may allow enhanced water exchange. This engineered LBT represents a first step in expanding the current base of specificity-targeted agents available.ChemBioChem 11/2012; · 3.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The anisotropic component of the magnetic susceptibility tensor (Δχ tensor) associated with various paramagnetic metal ions can induce pseudocontact shifts (PCSs) and residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) in proteins, yielding valuable restraints in structural studies. In particular, PCSs have successfully been used to study ligands that bind to proteins tagged with a paramagnetic metal ion, which is of great interest in fragment-based drug design. To create easy-to-interpret PCSs, the metal ion must be attached to the protein in a rigid manner. Most of the existing methods for site-specific attachment of a metal tag, however, result in tethers with residual flexibility. Here we present model calculations to quantify the extent, to which mobility of the metal-binding tag can compromise the quality of the Δχ tensor that can be determined from the PCSs observed in the protein. Assuming that the protein can be approximated by a sphere and the tag is attached by a single tether, the results show that a single effective ∆χ tensor can describe the PCSs and RDCs of the protein spins very well even in the presence of substantial tag mobility, implying that PCSs of ligands in binding pockets of the protein can be predicted with similar accuracy. In contrast, the quality of the PCS prediction for nuclear spins positioned above the surface of the protein is significantly poorer, with implications for studies of protein-protein complexes. The simulations probed the sensitivity of the effective Δχ tensor to different parameters, including length of the tether between protein and metal ion, protein size, type and amplitude of tag motion, tensor orientation relative to the protein and direction of tag motion. Tether length and amplitude of motion were identified as two key parameters. It is shown that the amplitude of tag motions cannot be quantified by simple comparisons of the effective Δχ tensor with the alignment tensor determined from RDCs.Journal of Biomolecular NMR 05/2013; · 2.85 Impact Factor