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Volume 24 (2010), Issue 6, Pages 651-659

Prediction of favourable sites for spin labelling of proteins

Yevhen Polyhach1 and Gunnar Jeschke1,2

1Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, CH-8093Zurich, Switzerland

Copyright © 2010 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Electron paramagnetic resonance studies on diamagnetic proteins are based on site-directed spin labelling and require relatively much effort for engineering cystein point mutations as well as expressing and labelling the protein. Therefore, it is advantageous to predict those sites and pairs of sites that can provide the most precise and most reliable information on accessibility and distances. Systematic site scans based on a rotamer library approach for spin label side groups allow for such predictions. Figures of merit are defined that can be used to rank sites according to their potential suitability in studies of structure and structural changes. Such site scans can still provide useful results if only a backbone model and the amino acid sequence of the protein are known.