A new method for identifying residue specific through space contacts as a function of protein secondary and tertiary structure in the gas phase is presented. Photodissociation of a non-native carbon iodine bond incorporated into Tyr59 of ubiquitin yields a radical site specifically at that residue. The subsequent radical migration is shown to be highly dependent on the structure of the protein. Radical-directed dissociation (RDD) of low charge states, which adopt compact structures, generates backbone fragmentation that is prominently distributed throughout the protein sequence, including residues that are distant in sequence from Tyr59. Higher charge states of ubiquitin, which adopt elongated, unfolded structures, yield RDD that is primarily nearby in sequence to Tyr59. Regardless of which structure is probed, information at the residue-level is obtained by examining specific radical-donor and radical-acceptor pairs. The relative importance of a particular interaction pair for a specific conformation can be revealed by tracking the charge state dependence of the dissociation. Structurally important contact pairs exhibit strong and concerted changes in relative intensities as a function of charge state and can also be used to reveal structural features which persist among different protein structures. Moreover, incorporation of distance constraint information into molecular mechanics conformational searches can be used to drive the search toward relevant conformational space. Implementation of this approach has revealed highly stable, previously undiscovered structures for the +4 and +6 charge states of ubiquitin, which bear little resemblance to the crystal structure.
- ELECTRON-CAPTURE DISSOCIATION
- UBIQUITIN IONS
- MOBILITY SPECTROMETRY