Characterisation of denatured states of sensory rhodopsin II by solution-state NMR

Yi Lei Tan, James Mitchell, Judith Klein-Seetharaman, Daniel Nietlispach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Sensory rhodopsin II (pSRII), a retinal-binding photophobic receptor from Natronomonas pharaonis, is a novel model system for membrane protein folding studies. Recently, the SDS-denatured states and the kinetics for reversible unfolding of pSRII have been investigated, opening the door to the first detailed characterisation of denatured states of a membrane protein by solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) using uniformly 15N-labelled pSRII. SDS denaturation and acid denaturation of pSRII both lead to fraying of helix ends but otherwise small structural changes in the transmembrane domain, consistent with little changes in secondary structure and disruption of the retinal-binding pocket and tertiary structure. Widespread changes in the backbone amide dynamics are detected in the form of line broadening, indicative of μs-to-ms timescale conformational exchange in the transmembrane region. Detailed analysis of chemical shift and intensity changes lead to high-resolution molecular insights on structural and dynamics changes in SDS- and acid-denatured pSRII, thus highlighting differences in the unfolding pathways under the two different denaturing conditions. These results will form the foundation for furthering our understanding on the folding and unfolding pathways of retinal-binding proteins and membrane proteins in general, and also for investigating the importance of ligand-binding in the folding pathways of other ligand-binding membrane proteins, such as GPCRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2790-2809
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 12 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Backbone amides
  • Chemical shifts
  • Folding
  • Membrane proteins
  • Transmembrane helices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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