Journal of Biomolecular NMR

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 223–242 | Cite as

Exact Solutions for Internuclear Vectors and Backbone Dihedral Angles from NH Residual Dipolar Couplings in Two Media, and their Application in a Systematic Search Algorithm for Determining Protein Backbone Structure

  • Lincong Wang
  • Bruce Randall Donald


We have derived a quartic equation for computing the direction of an internuclear vector from residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) measured in two aligning media, and two simple trigonometric equations for computing the backbone (φ,ψ) angles from two backbone vectors in consecutive peptide planes. These equations make it possible to compute, exactly and in constant time, the backbone (φ,ψ) angles for a residue from RDCs in two media on any single backbone vector type. Building upon these exact solutions we have designed a novel algorithm for determining a protein backbone substructure consisting of α-helices and β-sheets. Our algorithm employs a systematic search technique to refine the conformation of both α-helices and β-sheets and to determine their orientations using exclusively the angular restraints from RDCs. The algorithm computes the backbone substructure employing very sparse distance restraints between pairs of α-helices and β-sheets refined by the systematic search. The algorithm has been demonstrated on the protein human ubiquitin using only backbone NH RDCs, plus twelve hydrogen bonds and four NOE distance restraints. Further, our results show that both the global orientations and the conformations of α-helices and β-strands can be determined with high accuracy using only two RDCs per residue. The algorithm requires, as its input, backbone resonance assignments, the identification of α-helices and β-sheets as well as sparse NOE distance and hydrogen bond restraints.

Abbreviations: NMR – nuclear magnetic resonance; RDC – residual dipolar coupling; NOE – nuclear Overhauser effect; SVD – singular value decomposition; DFS – depth-first search; RMSD – root mean square deviation; POF – principal order frame; PDB – protein data bank; SA – simulated annealing; MD – molecular dynamics.

algorithms for protein structure determination conformational search exact solutions for backbone dihedral angles exact solutions for internuclear vectors global fold determination high-throughput NMR methods protein kinematics residual dipolar couplings structural genomics systematic search 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lincong Wang
    • 1
  • Bruce Randall Donald
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Dartmouth Computer Science DepartmentHanoverU.S.A
  2. 2.Dartmouth Computer Science Department, Dartmouth Chemistry Department, and Dartmouth Department of Biological SciencesHanoverU.S.A
  3. 3.Dartmouth Computer Science DepartmentSudikoff LaboratoryHanoverU.S.A.

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