Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 165–178 | Cite as

On the use of ultracentrifugal devices for routine sample preparation in biomolecular magic-angle-spinning NMR

  • Abhishek Mandal
  • Jennifer C. Boatz
  • Travis B. Wheeler
  • Patrick C. A. van der Wel


A number of recent advances in the field of magic-angle-spinning (MAS) solid-state NMR have enabled its application to a range of biological systems of ever increasing complexity. To retain biological relevance, these samples are increasingly studied in a hydrated state. At the same time, experimental feasibility requires the sample preparation process to attain a high sample concentration within the final MAS rotor. We discuss these considerations, and how they have led to a number of different approaches to MAS NMR sample preparation. We describe our experience of how custom-made (or commercially available) ultracentrifugal devices can facilitate a simple, fast and reliable sample preparation process. A number of groups have since adopted such tools, in some cases to prepare samples for sedimentation-style MAS NMR experiments. Here we argue for a more widespread adoption of their use for routine MAS NMR sample preparation.


MAS NMR Ultracentrifugation Sample packing Hydration Sedimentation 



We thank Mike Delk for his help with the NMR experiments. Funding support was from the University of Pittsburgh and the National Institutes of Health grants R01GM112678 and R01GM113908 (P.v.d.W.), and T32 GM088119 (J.C.B.).

Author contributions

TW and PvdW designed the packing tool. TW fabricated the packing tool. AM prepared samples. AM packed samples. AM and JCB performed MAS NMR experiments. JCB performed transmission electron microscopy measurements. AM and PvdW wrote the manuscript. All authors have read and edited the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10858_2017_89_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1881 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Structural BiologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Cell BiologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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