Protein Dynamics from Accurate Low-Field Site-Specific Longitudinal and Transverse Relaxation

Nuclear magnetic relaxation provides invaluable quantitative site-specific information on the dynamics of complex systems. Determining dynamics on nanosecond timescales requires relaxation measurements at low magnetic fields, incompatible with high-resolution NMR. Here, we use a two-field NMR spectrometer to measure carbon-13 transverse and longitudinal relaxation rates at a field as low as 0.33 T (proton Larmor frequency 14 MHz) in specifically labeled sidechains of the protein ubiquitin. The use of radiofrequency pulses enhances the accuracy of measurements as compared to high-resolution relaxometry approaches, where the sample is moved in the stray field of the superconducting magnet. Importantly, we demonstrate that accurate measurements at a single low magnetic field provide enough information to characterize complex motions on low nanosecond timescales, which opens a new window for the determination of site- specific nanosecond motions in complex systems such as proteins.