Rehydration Post-orientation: Investigating Field-Induced Structural Changes via Computational Rehydration.

Brodmerkel MN, De Santis E, Caleman C, Marklund EG

Protein J 42 (3) 205-218 [2023-06-00; online 2023-04-08]

Proteins can be oriented in the gas phase using strong electric fields, which brings advantages for structure determination using X-ray free electron lasers. Both the vacuum conditions and the electric-field exposure risk damaging the protein structures. Here, we employ molecular dynamics simulations to rehydrate and relax vacuum and electric-field exposed proteins in aqueous solution, which simulates a refinement of structure models derived from oriented gas-phase proteins. We find that the impact of the strong electric fields on the protein structures is of minor importance after rehydration, compared to that of vacuum exposure and ionization in electrospraying. The structures did not fully relax back to their native structure in solution on the simulated timescales of 200 ns, but they recover several features, including native-like intra-protein contacts, which suggests that the structures remain in a state from which the fully native structure is accessible. Our findings imply that the electric fields used in native mass spectrometry are well below a destructive level, and suggest that structures inferred from X-ray diffraction from gas-phase proteins are relevant for solution and in vivo conditions, at least after in silico rehydration.

Bioinformatics Support for Computational Resources [Service]

PubMed 37031302

DOI 10.1007/s10930-023-10110-y

Crossref 10.1007/s10930-023-10110-y

pmc: PMC10264475
pii: 10.1007/s10930-023-10110-y

Publications 9.5.0