Anomalous amide proton chemical shifts as signatures of hydrogen bonding to aromatic sidechains

Baskaran, Kumaran; Wilburn, Colin W.; Wedell, Jonathan R.; Koharudin, Leonardus M. I.; Ulrich, Eldon L.; Schuyler, Adam D.; Eghbalnia, Hamid R.; Gronenborn, Angela M.; Hoch, Jeffrey C.

Hydrogen bonding between an amide group and the p-inline-formulaπ cloud of an aromatic ring was first identified in a protein in the 1980s. Subsequent surveys of high-resolution X-ray crystal structures found multiple instances, but their preponderance was determined to be infrequent. Hydrogen atoms participating in a hydrogen bond to the p-inline-formulaπ cloud of an aromatic ring are expected to experience an upfield chemical shift arising from a shielding ring current shift. We surveyed the Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank for amide hydrogens exhibiting unusual shifts as well as corroborating nuclear Overhauser effects between the amide protons and ring protons. We found evidence that Trp residues are more likely to be involved in p-inline-formulaπ hydrogen bonds than other aromatic amino acids, whereas His residues are more likely to be involved in in-plane hydrogen bonds, with a ring nitrogen acting as the hydrogen acceptor. The p-inline-formulaπ hydrogen bonds may be more abundant than previously believed. The inclusion in NMR structure refinement protocols of shift effects in amide protons from aromatic sidechains, or explicit hydrogen bond restraints between amides and aromatic rings, could improve the local accuracy of sidechain orientations in solution NMR protein structures, but their impact on global accuracy is likely be limited.

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Baskaran, Kumaran / Wilburn, Colin W. / Wedell, Jonathan R. / et al: Anomalous amide proton chemical shifts as signatures of hydrogen bonding to aromatic sidechains. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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