Biophysical studies on membrane proteins by solid state NMR (SSNMR) can be carried out directly in a membrane environment. Samples are usually prepared in form of multi-lamellar dispersions for magic angle sample spinning or as aligned multi-layers for orientation dependent NMR experiments without sample rotation. A new development is the application of MAS NMR to aligned samples (MAOSS; Magic Angle Oriented Sample Spinning). In combination with separated local field (SLF) experiments, size and orientation of hetero-nuclear dipolar couplings may be extracted from two-dimensional experiments which correlate dipolar couplings with isotropic chemical shifts. The orientation of these 1H-X dipolar couplings can be directly related to the orientation of molecular groups in the sample. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility of these experiments on highly ordered polyethylene fibres which serve as model compound. Based on these data, the experiment is also applied to ordered multilayers of bacteriorhodopsin (purple membrane) which is used a as a model for aligned membrane proteins. We present a detailed analysis of different experimental designs with respect to angular sensitivity and the influence of residual sample disorder (“mosaic spread”). The results of the MAOSS-SLF experiment are discussed within the context of established solid-state NMR experiments which are usually performed without sample rotation and we compare the data to orientation information obtained from X-ray diffraction.
- Lopez JJ, Mason AJ, Kaiser C, Glaubitz C. Separated local field NMR experiments on oriented samples rotating at the magic angle. J Biomol NMR.;37:97 (2007).