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Oriented solid-state NMR in combination with multiple-residue-specific (15)N labeling and extensive numerical spectral analysis is proposed to determine helix conformations of large membrane proteins in native membranes. The method is demonstrated on uniaxially oriented samples of (15)N-methionine, -valine, and -glycine-labeled bacteriorhopsin in native purple membranes. Experimental two-dimensional (1)H-(15)N dipole-dipole coupling versus (15)N chemical shift spectra for all samples are analyzed numerically to establish combined constraints on the orientation of the seven transmembrane helices relative to the membrane bilayer normal. Since the method does not depend on specific resonance assignments and proves robust toward nonidealities in the sample alignment, it may be generally feasible for the study of conformational arrangement and function-induced conformation changes of large integral membrane proteins.

Original publication




Journal article


Biophys J

Publication Date





241 - 250


Adenosine Triphosphatases, Amino Acids, Computer Simulation, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Membrane Proteins, Models, Chemical, Models, Molecular, Nitrogen Isotopes, Protein Conformation