Ullrich, S.J. and C. Glaubitz, Perspectives in Enzymology of Membrane Proteins by Solid-State NMR. Acc. Chem. Res., 2013.
Membrane proteins catalyze reactions at the cell membrane and facilitate thetransport of molecules or signals across the membrane. Recently researchers have made great progress in understanding the structural biology of membrane proteins, mainly based on X-ray crystallography. In addition, the application of complementary spectroscopic techniques has allowed researchers to develop a functional understanding of these proteins. Solid-state NMR has become an indispensable tool for the structure?function analysis of insoluble proteins and protein complexes. It offers the possibility of investigating membrane proteins directly in their environment, which provides essential information about the intrinsic coupling of protein structure and functional dynamics within the lipid bilayer. However, to date, researchers have hardly explored the enzymology of mem-brane proteins. In this Account, we review the perspectives for investigating membrane-bound enzymes by solid-state NMR. Understanding enzyme mechanisms requires access to kinetic parameters, structural analysis of the catalytic center, knowledge of the 3D structure and methods to follow the structural dynamics of the enzyme during the catalytic cycle. In principle, solid-state NMR can address all of these issues. Researchers can characterize the enzyme kinetics by observing substrate turnover within the membrane or at the membrane interphase in a time-resolved fashion as shown for diacylglycerol kinase. Solid-state NMR has also provided a mechanistic understanding of soluble enzymes including triosephosphate isomerase (TIM) and different metal-binding proteins, which demonstrates a promising perspective also for membrane proteins. The increasing availability of high magnetic fields and the development of new experimental schemes and computational protocols have made it easier to determine 3D structure using solid-state NMR. Dynamic nuclear polarization, a key technique to boost sensitivity of solid-state NMR at low temperatures, can help with the analysis of thermally trapped catalytic intermediates, while methods to improve signal-to-noise per time unit enable the real-time measurement of kinetics of conformational changes during the catalytic cycle.