Determining structures of biomacromolecular complexes from ambiguous NMR restraints and cryoEM data
Integrated structural biology aims at combining different techniques to tackle challenging systems. Where individual techniques are not delivering structures of suitable quality, harnessing the strengths of various methods can often overcome this problem. X-ray crystallography and NMR have been the two most widely applied structural biology disciplines. In recent years cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM) has become ever more powerful and is now capable of providing structures at resolutions
... resolutions comparable to those common in X-ray crystallography. Unfortunately, both NMR and cryoEM have inherent limitations on the system under study. However, the two techniques can be considered somewhat complementary as NMR has an upper and cryoEM a lower molecular weight (MW) limit. Here, we present a joint NMR and cryoEM methodology for the determination of biomacromolecular structures at the boundary region between the MW limits of the two techniques. The method relies on measuring chemical shift perturbations, which is the most readily accessible NMR parameter for characterizing the interaction of biomacromolecular complexes. Low-resolution cryoEM information yields global information on the shape of the complex and is used for complementing the local NMR data. We have successfully applied this method to the model system histidine-containing phosphoprotein (HPr) in complex with the glucose-specific acceptor protein IIAGlc from Escherichia coli.