Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 175–192 | Cite as

CP-HISQC: a better version of HSQC experiment for intrinsically disordered proteins under physiological conditions



1H–15N HSQC spectroscopy is a workhorse of protein NMR. However, under physiological conditions the quality of HSQC spectra tends to deteriorate due to fast solvent exchange. For globular proteins only a limited number of surface residues are affected, but in the case of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) HSQC spectra are thoroughly degraded, suffering from both peak broadening and loss of intensity. To alleviate this problem, we make use of the following two concepts. (1) Proton-decoupled HSQC. Regular HSQC and its many variants record the evolution of multi-spin modes, 2NxHz or 2NxHx, in indirect dimension. Under the effect of fast solvent exchange these modes undergo rapid decay, which results in severe line-broadening. In contrast, proton-decoupled HSQC relies on Nx coherence which is essentially insensitive to the effects of solvent exchange. Moreover, for measurements involving IDPs at or near physiological temperature, Nx mode offers excellent relaxation properties, leading to very sharp resonances. (2) Cross-polarization 1H-to-15N transfer. If CP element is designed such as to lock both 1HN and water magnetization, the following transfer is effected: \( {\text{H}}_{\text{x}}^{\text{water}} \to {\text{H}}_{\text{x}}^{\text{N}} \to {\text{N}}_{\text{x}} . \) Thus water magnetization is successfully exploited to boost the amount of signal. In addition, CP element suffers less loss from solvent exchange, conformational exchange, and dipolar relaxation compared to the more popular INEPT element. Combining these two concepts, we have implemented the experiment termed CP-HISQC (cross-polarization assisted heteronuclear in-phase single-quantum correlation). The pulse sequence has been designed such as to preserve water magnetization and therefore can be executed with reasonably short recycling delays. In the presence of fast solvent exchange, kex ~ 100 s−1, CP-HISQC offers much better spectral resolution than conventional HSQC-type experiments. At the same time it offers up to twofold gain in sensitivity compared to plain proton-decoupled HSQC. The new sequence has been tested on the sample of drkN SH3 domain at pH 7.5, 30 °C. High-quality spectrum has been recorded in less than 1 h, containing resonances from both folded and unfolded species. High-quality spectra have also been obtained for arginine side-chain HεNε groups in the sample of short peptide Sos. For Arg side chains, we have additionally implemented (HE)NE(CD)HD experiment. Using 13C-labeled sample of Sos, we have demonstrated that proton-to-nitrogen CP transfer remains highly efficient in the presence of solvent exchange as fast as kex = 620 s−1. In contrast, INEPT transfer completely fails in this regime.


1H–15N correlation spectroscopy Proton-decoupled HSQC Cross-polarization Amide solvent exchange Intrinsically disordered proteins Arginine side-chain HεNε group 



This study was supported by the funds from NSF Grant MCB 1158347.

Supplementary material

10858_2014_9815_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (319 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 318 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Biomolecular NMRSt. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia

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