Interproton distance bounds from 2D NOE intensities: Effect of experimental noise and peak integration errors

He Liu, H. Peter Spielmann, Nikolai B. Ulyanov, David E. Wemmer, Thomas L. James

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110 Scopus citations


The effect of experimental and integration errors on the calculations in interproton distances from NOE intensities is examined. It is shown that NOE intensity errors can have a large impact on the distances determined. When multiple spin ('spin diffusion') effects are significant, the calculated distances are often underestimated, even when using a complete relaxation matrix analysis. In this case, the bias of distances to smaller values is due to the random errors in the NOE intensities. We show here that accurate upper and lower bounds of the distances can be obtained if the intensity errors are properly accounted for in the complete relaxation matrix calculations, specifically the MARDIGRAS algorithm. The basic MARDIGRAS algorithm has been previously described [Borgias, B.A. and James, T.L. (1990) J. Magn. Reson., 87, 475-487]. It has been shown to provide reasonably good interproton distance bounds, but experimental errors can compromise the quality of the resulting restraints, especially for weak cross peaks. In a new approach introduced here, termed RANDMARDI (random error MARDIGRAS), errors due to random noise and integration errors are mimicked by the addition of random numbers from within a specified range to each input intensity. Interproton distances are then calculated for the modified intensity set using MARDIGRAS. The distribution of distances that define the upper and lower distance bounds is obtained by using N randomly modified intensity sets. RANDMARDI has been used in the solution structure determination of the interstrand cross-link (XL) formed between 4′-hydroxymethyl-4,5′,8-trimethylpsoralen (HMT) and the DNA oligomer d(5′-GCGTACGC-3′)2 [Spielmann, H.P. et al. (1995) Biochemistry, 34, 12937-12953]. RANDMARDI generates accurate distance bounds from the experimental NOESY cross-peak intensities for the fixed (known) interproton distances in XL. This provides an independent internal check for the ability of RANDMARDI to accurately fit the experimental data. The XL structure determined using RANDMARDI-generated restrains is in good agreement with other biophysical data that indicate that there is no bend introduced into the DNA by the cross-link. In contrast, isolated spin-pair approximation calculations give distance restraints that, when applied in a restrained molecular dynamics protocol, produce a bent structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-402
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomolecular NMR
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • High-resolution structure
  • NOE distance determination
  • Psoralen-DNA interstrand cross-link
  • Random noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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