Web spiders use specialized glands to produce silk proteins, so-called spidroins, which assemble into extraordinarily tough silk fibers through tightly regulated phase and structural transitions. A crucial step in the polymerization of spidroins is the pH-triggered assembly of their N-terminal domains (NTDs) into tight dimers. Major ampullate spidroin NTDs contain an unusually high content of the amino acid methionine. We previously showed that the simultaneous mutation of the six hydrophobic core methionine residues to leucine in the NTD of the major ampullate spidroin 1 from Euprosthenops australis, a nursery web spider, yields a protein (L6-NTD) retaining a three-dimensional fold identical to the wildtype (WT) domain, yet with a significantly increased stability. Further, the dynamics of the L6-NTD are significantly reduced and the ability to dimerize is severely impaired compared to the WT domain. These properties lead to significant changes in the NMR spectra between WT and L6-NTD so that the previously available WT-NTD assignments cannot be transferred to the mutant protein. Here, we thus report the de novo NMR backbone and side chain assignments of the major ampullate spidroin 1 L6-NTD variant from E. australis as a prerequisite for obtaining further insights into protein structure and dynamics.
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BG acknowledges the Max Planck Graduate Centre (MPGC) for a PhD fellowship. HN acknowledges financial support from the U.S. Army Research Office (Grant Number W911NF-17-1-0336). UAH acknowledges support by the Carl Zeiss Foundation and the Center of Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance (BMRZ), Goethe University Frankfurt, funded by the state of Hesse.
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Goretzki, B., Heiby, J.C., Hacker, C. et al. NMR assignments of a dynamically perturbed and dimerization inhibited N-terminal domain variant of a spider silk protein from E. australis. Biomol NMR Assign 14, 67–71 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12104-019-09922-w