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Protein Structure Determination in Living Cells

Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, 1-1 Minamiosawa, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0397, Japan
Institute of Biophysical Chemistry and Center for Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland; [email protected]
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2442;
Received: 26 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In-Cell NMR Spectroscopy: Biomolecular Structure and Function)
PDF [3536 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


To date, in-cell NMR has elucidated various aspects of protein behaviour by associating structures in physiological conditions. Meanwhile, current studies of this method mostly have deduced protein states in cells exclusively based on ‘indirect’ structural information from peak patterns and chemical shift changes but not ‘direct’ data explicitly including interatomic distances and angles. To fully understand the functions and physical properties of proteins inside cells, it is indispensable to obtain explicit structural data or determine three-dimensional (3D) structures of proteins in cells. Whilst the short lifetime of cells in a sample tube, low sample concentrations, and massive background signals make it difficult to observe NMR signals from proteins inside cells, several methodological advances help to overcome the problems. Paramagnetic effects have an outstanding potential for in-cell structural analysis. The combination of a limited amount of experimental in-cell data with software for ab initio protein structure prediction opens an avenue to visualise 3D protein structures inside cells. Conventional nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy (NOESY)-based structure determination is advantageous to elucidate the conformations of side-chain atoms of proteins as well as global structures. In this article, we review current progress for the structure analysis of proteins in living systems and discuss the feasibility of its future works. View Full-Text
Keywords: protein structure determination 1; non-uniform sampling 2; spectrum reconstruction 3; structural calculation 4; paramagnetic effects protein structure determination 1; non-uniform sampling 2; spectrum reconstruction 3; structural calculation 4; paramagnetic effects

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ikeya, T.; Güntert, P.; Ito, Y. Protein Structure Determination in Living Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 2442.

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