PELDOR in rotationally symmetric homo-oligomers

Angeliki Giannoulis, Richard James Ward, Emma Branigan, Jim Naismith, Bela Ernest Bode

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Nanometre distance measurements by pulsed electron−electron double resonance (PELDOR) spectroscopy have become an increasingly important tool in structural biology. The theoretical underpinning of the experiment is well-defined for systems containing two nitroxide spin-labels (spin pairs) however recently experiments have been reported on homo-oligomeric membrane proteins consisting of up to eight spin-labelled monomers. We have explored the theory behind these systems by examining model systems based on multiple spins arranged in rotationally symmetric polygons. The results demonstrate that with a rising number of spins within the test molecule, increasingly strong distortions appear in distance distributions obtained from an analysis based on the simple spin pair approach. These distortions are significant over a range of system sizes and remain so even when random errors are introduced into the symmetry of the model. We present an alternative approach to the extraction of distances on such systems based on a minimisation that properly treats multi-spin correlations. We demonstrate the utility of this approach on a spin-labelled mutant of the heptameric Mechanosensitive Channel of Small Conductance of E. coli.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2845-2854
JournalMolecular Physics
Issue number18-19
Early online date24 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • DEER
  • Pulsed dipolar spectroscopy
  • Multiple spin effects
  • Homo-oligomer
  • EPR


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