Core packing of well‐defined X‐ray and NMR structures is the same

Alex T. Grigas, Zhuoyi Liu, Lynne Regan, Corey S. O'Hern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Numerous studies have investigated the differences and similarities between protein structures determined by solution NMR spectroscopy and those determined by X-ray crystallography. A fundamental question is whether any observed differences are due to differing methodologies or to differences in the behavior of proteins in solution versus in the crystalline state. Here, we compare the properties of the hydrophobic cores of high-resolution protein crystal structures and those in NMR structures, determined using increasing numbers and types of restraints. Prior studies have reported that many NMR structures have denser cores compared with those of high-resolution X-ray crystal structures. Our current work investigates this result in more detail and finds that these NMR structures tend to violate basic features of protein stereochemistry, such as small non-bonded atomic overlaps and few Ramachandran and sidechain dihedral angle outliers. We find that NMR structures solved with more restraints, and which do not significantly violate stereochemistry, have hydrophobic cores that have a similar size and packing fraction as their counterparts determined by X-ray crystallography at high resolution. These results lead us to conclude that, at least regarding the core packing properties, high-quality structures determined by NMR and X-ray crystallography are the same, and the differences reported earlier are most likely a consequence of methodology, rather than fundamental differences between the protein in the two different environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4373
JournalProtein Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • hydrophobic core
  • protein design
  • protein structure


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