Solvent paramagnetic relaxation enhancement as a versatile method for studying structure and dynamics of biomolecular systems

Aneta J. Lenard, Frans A.A. Mulder, Tobias Madl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Solvent paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (sPRE) is a versatile nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based method that allows characterization of the structure and dynamics of biomolecular systems through providing quantitative experimental information on solvent accessibility of NMR-active nuclei. Addition of soluble paramagnetic probes to the solution of a biomolecule leads to paramagnetic relaxation enhancement in a concentration-dependent manner. Here we review recent progress in the sPRE-based characterization of structural and dynamic properties of biomolecules and their complexes, and aim to deliver a comprehensive illustration of a growing number of applications of the method to various biological systems. We discuss the physical principles of sPRE measurements and provide an overview of available co-solute paramagnetic probes. We then explore how sPRE, in combination with complementary biophysical techniques, can further advance biomolecular structure determination, identification of interaction surfaces within protein complexes, and probing of conformational changes and low-population transient states, as well as deliver insights into weak, nonspecific, and transient interactions between proteins and co-solutes. In addition, we present examples of how the incorporation of solvent paramagnetic probes can improve the sensitivity of NMR experiments and discuss the prospects of applying sPRE to NMR metabolomics, drug discovery, and the study of intrinsically disordered proteins.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Pages (from-to)113-139
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy
  • Paramagnetic co-solutes
  • Solvent accessibility
  • Solvent paramagnetic relaxation enhancement (sPRE)
  • Structural biology
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Solutions
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins/chemistry
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular/methods
  • Solvents/chemistry


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