A global optimization method for intensity-restrained structure refinement, based on variable target function (VTF) analysis, is illustrated using experimental data on a model peptide, gramicidin-S (GS) dissolved in DMSO. The method (referred to as VARTIGO for variable target intensity-restrained global optimization) involves minimization of a target function in which the range of NOE contacts is gradually increased in successive cycles of optimization in dihedral angle space. Several different starting conformations (including all-trans) have been tested to establish the validity of the method. Not all optimizations were successful, but these were readily identifiable from their large NOE R-factors. We also show that it is possible to simultaneously optimize the rotational correlation time along with the dihedral angles. The structural features of GS thus obtained from the successful optimizations are in excellent agreement with the available experimental data. A comparison is made with structures generated from an intensity-restrained single target function (STF) analysis. The results on GS suggest that VARTIGO refinement is capable of yielding better quality structures. Our work also underscores the need for a simultaneous analysis of different NOE R-factors in judging the quality of optimized structures. The NOESY data on GS in DMSO appear to provide evidence for the presence of two orientations for the ornithine side chain, in fast exchange. The NOESY spectra for this case were analyzed using a relaxation rate matrix which is a weighted average of the relaxation rate matrices for the individual conformations.
- Complete relaxation matrix analysis
- Conformation averaging
- NOE R-factor
- Protein conformation
- Variable target function