The broad EPR spectrum of Gd(III) spin labels restricts the dipolar modulation depth in distance measurements between Gd(III) pairs to a few percent. To overcome this limitation, frequency-swept chirp pulses are utilized as pump pulses in the DEER experiment. Using a model system with 3.4 nm Gd-Gd distance, application of one single chirp pump pulse at Q-band frequencies leads to modulation depths beyond 10%. However, the larger modulation depth is counteracted by a reduction of the absolute echo intensity due to the pump pulse. As supported by spin dynamics simulations, this effect is primarily driven by signal loss to double-quantum coherence and specific to the Gd(III) high spin state of S = 7/2. In order to balance modulation depth and echo intensity for optimum sensitivity, a simple experimental procedure is proposed. An additional improvement by 25% in DEER sensitivity is achieved with two consecutive chirp pump pulses. These pulses pump the Gd(III) spectrum symmetrically around the observation position, therefore mutually compensating for dynamical Bloch-Siegert phase shifts at the observer spins. The improved sensitivity of the DEER data with modulation depths on the order of 20% is due to mitigation of the echo reduction effects by the consecutive pump pulses. In particular, the second pump pulse does not lead to additional signal loss if perfect inversion is assumed. Moreover, the compensation of the dynamical Bloch-Siegert phase prevents signal loss due to spatial dependence of the dynamical phase, which is caused by inhomogeneities in the driving field. The new methodology is combined with pre-polarization techniques to measure long distances up to 8.6 nm, where signal intensity and modulation depth become attenuated by long dipolar evolution windows. In addition, the influence of the zero-field splitting parameters on the echo intensity is studied with simulations. Herein, larger sensitivity is anticipated for Gd(III) complexes with zero-field splitting that is smaller than for the employed Gd-PyMTA complex.
In order to enhance echo signals observed with selective pulses, equilibrium populations of the energy levels of S = 7/2 Gd(III) spin labels are rearranged with frequency-swept passage pulses. To transfer population from as many energy levels as possible, the 2 μs long passage pulses range over more than 1 GHz. Application of this technique at Q-band frequencies to three different Gd(III) complexes and spin dynamics simulations reveal large signal enhancements beyond 100% for Gd(III) complexes with zero-field splitting parameters below 1 GHz. For complexes with larger splittings, experimental enhancements are on the order of 90%. Moreover, population transfer is combined with distance measurements on a model system with a pair of Gd(III) ions. As a result, a signal enhancement of 85% is achieved without inducing changes in the obtained distance information. Besides this enhancement by population transfer, a dipolar modulation depth of 9% is demonstrated, which results in a total enhancement of 3.3 with respect to data obtained with monochromatic rectangular pulses. The limitations of the population transfer technique are discussed. In particular, the extraordinary broad pulse bandwidths caused heating effects and pulse distortions, which constrain the pulse length and thus the achievable signal enhancement.
Nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) are used as chemical energy source in a variety of cell systems. Structural snapshots along the NTP hydrolysis reaction coordinate are typically obtained by adding stable, nonhydrolyzable adenosine triphosphate (ATP) -analogues to the proteins, with the goal to arrest a state that mimics as closely as possible a physiologically relevant state, e.g., the pre-hydrolytic, transition and post-hydrolytic states. We here present the lessons learned on two distinct ATPases on the best use and unexpected pitfalls observed for different analogues. The proteins investigated are the bacterial DnaB helicase from Helicobacter pylori and the multidrug ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter BmrA from Bacillus subtilis, both belonging to the same division of P-loop fold NTPases. We review the magnetic-resonance strategies which can be of use to probe the binding of the ATP-mimics, and present carbon-13, phosphorus-31, and vanadium-51 solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of the proteins or the bound molecules to unravel conformational and dynamic changes upon binding of the ATP-mimics. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and in particular W-band electron-electron double resonance (ELDOR)-detected NMR, is of complementary use to assess binding of vanadate. We discuss which analogues best mimic the different hydrolysis states for the DnaB helicase and the ABC transporter BmrA. These might be relevant also to structural and functional studies of other NTPases.
Giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) are model cell-sized systems that have broad applications including drug delivery, analysis of membrane biophysics, and synthetic reconstitution of cellular machineries. Although numerous methods for the generation of free-floating GUVs have been established over the past few decades, only a fraction have successfully produced uniform vesicle populations both from charged lipids and in buffers of physiological ionic strength. In the method described here, we generate large numbers of free-floating GUVs through the rehydration of lipid films deposited on soft polyacrylamide (PAA) gels. We show that this technique produces high GUV concentrations for a range of lipid types, including charged ones, independently of the ionic strength of the buffer used. We demonstrate that the gentle hydration of PAA gels results in predominantly unilamellar vesicles, which is in contrast to comparable methods analyzed in this work. Unilamellarity is a defining feature of GUVs and the generation of uniform populations is key for many downstream applications. The PAA method is widely applicable and can be easily implemented with commonly utilized laboratory reagents, making it an appealing platform for the study of membrane biophysics.
Abstract. Radio-frequency (rf) field inhomogeneity is a common problem in NMR which leads to non-ideal rotations of spins in parts of the sample. Often, a physical volume restriction of the sample is used to reduce the effects of rf-field inhomogeneity, especially in solid-state NMR where spacers are inserted to reduce the sample volume to the centre of the coil. We show that band-selective pulses in the spin-lock frame can be used to apply B1-field selective inversions to spins that experience selected parts of the rf-field distribution. Any frequency band-selective pulse can be used for this purpose, but we chose the family of I-BURP pulses (Geen and Freeman, 1991) for the measurements demonstrated here. As an example, we show that the implementation of such pulses improves homonuclear frequency-switched Lee–Goldburg decoupling in solid-state NMR.
Ti(iii) alkyl species polymerize ethylene via an original mechanism, which involves back donation to the π*(C2H4) and a delocalization of the unpaired electron in the transition state of C2H4 insertion into the partially alkylidenic Ti(iii)–C bond.
A new ultra-wide band (UWB) pulse EPR method is introduced for observing all nuclear frequencies of a paramagnetic center in a single shot. It is based on burning spectral holes with a high turning angle (HTA) pulse that excites forbidden transitions and subsequent detection of the hole pattern by a chirp echo. We term this method Chirp Echo Epr SpectroscopY (CHEESY)-detected NMR. The approach is a revival of FT EPR-detected NMR. It yields similar spectra and the same type of information as electron-electron double resonance (ELDOR)-detected NMR, but with a multiplex advantage. We apply CHEESY-detected NMR in Q band to nitroxides and correlate the hyperfine spectrum to the EPR spectrum by varying the frequency of the HTA pulse. Furthermore, a selective π pulse before the HTA pulse allows for detecting hyperfine sublevel correlations between transitions of one nucleus and for elucidating the coupling regime, the same information as revealed by the HYSCORE experiment. This is demonstrated on hexaaquamanganese(II). We expect that CHEESY-detected NMR is generally applicable to disordered systems and that our results further motivate the development of EPR spectrometers capable of coherent UWB excitation and detection, especially at higher fields and frequencies.
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