Actin cytoskeleton dynamics are controlled by various actin binding proteins (ABPs) that modulate the polymerization of the monomeric G-actin and the depolymerization of filamentous F-actin. Although revealing the structures of the actin/ABP complexes is crucial to understand how the ABPs regulate actin dynamics, the X-ray crystallography and cryoEM methods are inadequate to apply for the ABPs that interact with G-or F-actin with lower affinity or multiple binding modes. In this study, we aimed to establish the alternative method to build a structural model of G-actin/ABP complexes, utilizing the paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (PRE) experiments. Thymosin β4 (Tβ4) was used as a test case for validation, since its structure in complex with G-actin was reported recently. Recombinantly expressed G-actin, containing a cysteine mutation, was conjugated with a nitroxyl spin label at the specific site. Based on the intensity ratio of the 1 H-15 N HSQC spectra of Tβ4 in the complex with G-actin in the paramagnetic and diamagnetic states, the distances between the amide groups of Tβ4 and the spin label of G-actin were estimated. Using the PRE-derived distance constraints, we were able to compute a well-converged docking structure of the G-actin/Tβ4 complex that shows great accordance with the reference structure.
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