Anesthetic modulation of protein dynamics: Insight from an NMR study

Christian G. Canlas, Tanxing Cui, Ng Li, Yan Xu, Pei Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mistic (membrane integrating sequence for translation of integral membrane protein constructs) comprises the four-α-helix bundle scaffold found in the transmembrane domains of the Cys-loop receptors that are plausible targets for general anesthetics. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of anesthetic halothane interaction with Mistic in dodecyl phosphocholine (DPC) micelles provide an experimental basis for understanding molecular mechanisms of general anesthesia. Halothane was found to interact directly with Mistic, mostly in the interfacial loop regions. Although the presence of halothane had little effect on Mistic structure, 15N NMR relaxation dispersion measurements revealed that halothane affected Mistic's motion on the microsecond-millisecond time scale. Halothane shifted the equilibrium of chemical exchange in some residues and made the exchange faster or slower in comparison to the original state in the absence of halothane. The motion on the microsecond-millisecond time scale in several residues disappeared in response to the addition of halothane. Most of the residues experiencing halothane-induced dynamics changes also exhibited profound halothane-induced changes in chemical shift, suggesting that dynamics modification of these residues might result from their direct interaction with halothane molecules. Allosteric modulation by halothane also contributed to dynamics changes, as reflected in residues I52 and Y82 where halothane introduction brought about dynamics changes but not chemical shift changes. The study suggests that inhaled general anesthetics could act on proteins via altering protein motion on the microsecond-millisecond time scale, especially motion in the flexible loops that link different alpha helices. The validation of anesthetic effect on protein dynamics that are potentially correlated with protein functions is a critical step in unraveling the mechanisms of anesthetic action on proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14312-14318
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 13 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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