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Carrier proteins (CPs) are central actors in nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) as they interact with all catalytic domains, and because they covalently hold the substrates and intermediates leading to the final product. Thus, how CPs and their partner domains recognize and engage with each other as a function of CP cargos is paramount to understanding and engineering NRPSs. However, rapid hydrolysis of the labile thioester bonds holding substrates challenges molecular and biophysical studies to determine the molecular mechanisms of domain recognition. In this chapter, we describe a protocol to counteract hydrolysis and study loaded carrier proteins at the atomic level with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The method relies on loading CPs in situ, with adenylation domains in the NMR tube, to reach substrate-loaded CPs at steady state. We describe controls and experimental readouts necessary to assess the integrity of the sample and maintain loading on CPs. Our approach provides a basis to conduct subsequent NMR experiments and obtain kinetic, thermodynamic, dynamic, and structural parameters of substrate-loaded CPs alone or in the presence of other domains. © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


Neeru Arya, Kenneth A Marincin, Dominique P Frueh. Probing Substrate-Loaded Carrier Proteins by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2023;2670:235-253

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PMID: 37184708

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