Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 365–377 | Cite as

Characterization of molecular alignment in aqueous suspensions of Pf1 bacteriophage

  • Markus Zweckstetter
  • Ad Bax


The phase diagram of Pf1 solutions has been studied indirectly by observation of 2H quadrupole splittings of the solvent signal and measurement of dipolar couplings in solute macromolecules. At low volume fractions of Pf1 and at high ionic strength, alignment of both the phage and the solute depends strongly on the strength of the magnetic field. Both the theoretical and experimentally determined phase diagram of Pf1 show that at low concentrations and high ionic strengths the solution becomes isotropic. However, just below the nematic phase boundary the behavior of the system is paranematic, with cooperative alignment which depends on the strength of the applied magnetic field. Above 16 mg/ml Pf1 is fully nematic up to 600 mM NaCl. Alignment of proteins with a significant electric dipole moment, which tends to be strong in Pf1, can be reduced by either high ionic strength or low phage concentration. Because ionic strength modulates both the orientation and magnitude of the alignment tensor in Pf1 medium, measurement at two ionic strengths can yield linearly independent alignment tensors.

alignment diamagnetic susceptibility dipolar coupling liquid crystal nematic paranematic Pf1 phage virial theory 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Zweckstetter
    • 1
  • Ad Bax
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Chemical Physics, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaU.S.A

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