We have used multifrequency electron paramagnetic resonance to define the multistate structural dynamics of an integral membrane protein, phospholamban (PLB), in a lipid bilayer. PLB is a key regulator of cardiac calcium transport, and its function requires transitions between distinct states of intramolecular dynamics. Monomeric PLB was synthesized with the TOAC spin label at positions 11 (in the cytoplasmic domain) and 46 (in the transmembrane domain) and reconstituted into lipid bilayers. Unlike other protein spin labels, TOAC reports directly the motion of the peptide backbone, so quantitative analysis of its dynamics is worthwhile. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectra at 9.4 GHz (X-band) and 94 GHz (W-band) were analyzed in terms of anisotropic rotational diffusion of the two domains. Motion of the transmembrane domain is highly restricted, while the cytoplasmic domain exhibits two distinct conformations, a major one with moderately restricted nanosecond dynamics (T) and another with nearly unrestricted subnanosecond motion (R). The global analysis of spectra at two frequencies yielded values for the rotational correlation times and order parameters that were much more precisely determined than at either frequency alone. Multifrequency EPR is a powerful approach for analysis of complex rotational dynamics of proteins.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants No. AR48961 (Y.E.N.), No. AR32961 (D.D.T.), and No. GM27906 (D.D.T.), and National Science Foundation grant No. MCB 0346650 (P.G.F.). NLSL software was kindly provided by Dr. D. Budil (Northeastern University).