Solid-State Deuterium NMR Spectroscopy of Membranes

  • Trivikram R. MoluguEmail author
  • Xiaolin Xu
  • Avigdor Leftin
  • Silvia Lope-Piedrafita
  • Gary V. Martinez
  • Horia I. Petrache
  • Michael F. Brown
Reference work entry


Solid-state deuterium (2H) NMR spectroscopy provides a unique tool for lipid membrane investigations. Knowledge of the average structure is obtained from solid-state 2H NMR lineshapes through principal values of the static or motionally averaged coupling tensors due to quadrupolar interactions. For randomly oriented multilamellar lipids or aligned membranes, this technique provides residual quadrupolar couplings (RQC) of the individual C–2H labeled segments. The RQC values are used to calculate the segmental order parameters S CD (i) for each segment position (i), which are related to the average membrane properties. The corresponding dynamical information is acquired from the tensor fluctuations, which depend on the mean-squared amplitudes and rates of the motions. Fluctuations of the coupling Hamiltonian due to the various membrane dynamics cause the relaxation. The 2H solid-state NMR relaxation methods facilitate studying the hierarchical dynamics of liquid-crystalline membranes over wide length and timescales. Model-free interpretation of spin–lattice relaxation rates as a function of segmental order parameters enables understanding the complex lipid dynamics. Notably, the square-law functional dependence of R1Z rates and order parameters indicates the collective segmental dynamics, which in turn explain the liquid-crystalline material properties of lipid bilayer. Using solid-state 2H NMR relaxation, the influences of the acyl length, polyunsaturation, lipid polar head groups, cosurfactants, water, and incorporation of sterols are accessible in terms of the bilayer viscoelastic properties. These methods have been extensively applied to characterize model membranes and membrane-bound peptides as well as proteins for obtaining unique information on their conformations, orientation, and interactions.


Cholesterol Liquid crystals Lipids Membranes Molecular dynamics Membrane elasticity NMR relaxation NMR spectroscopy Order-director fluctuations 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Trivikram R. Molugu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiaolin Xu
    • 2
  • Avigdor Leftin
    • 3
  • Silvia Lope-Piedrafita
    • 4
  • Gary V. Martinez
    • 5
  • Horia I. Petrache
    • 6
  • Michael F. Brown
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical PhysicsMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Servei de Ressonància Magnètica Nuclear and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red-Bioingeniería, Biomateriales y Nanomedicina (CIBER-BBN)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaCerdanyola del VallèsSpain
  5. 5.Department of Cancer Imaging and MetabolismH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstituteTampaUSA
  6. 6.Department of PhysicsIndiana University-Purdue UniversityIndianapolisUSA
  7. 7.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Department of PhysicsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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