Levitz, Talya S. / Brignole, Edward J. / Fong, Ivan / Darrow, Michele C. / Drennan, Catherine L. Effects of chameleon dispense-to-plunge speed on particle concentration, complex formation, and final resolution: A case study using the Neisseria gonorrhoeae ribonucleotide reductase inactive complex. 2022. Journal of structural biology, Vol. 214, p. 107825
Ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) is an essential enzyme that converts ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides and is a promising antibiotic target, but few RNRs have been structurally characterized. We present the use of the chameleon, a commercially-available piezoelectric cryogenic electron microscopy plunger, to address complex denaturation in the Neisseria gonorrhoeae class Ia RNR. Here, we characterize the extent of denaturation of the ring-shaped complex following grid preparation using a traditional plunger and using a chameleon with varying dispense-to-plunge times. We also characterize how dispense-to-plunge time influences the amount of protein sample required for grid preparation and preferred orientation of the sample. We demonstrate that the fastest dispense-to-plunge time of 54 ms is sufficient for generation of a data set that produces a high quality structure, and that a traditional plunging technique or slow chameleon dispense-to-plunge times generate data sets limited in resolution by complex denaturation. The 4.3 Å resolution structure of Neisseria gonorrhoeae class Ia RNR in the inactive α4β4 oligomeric state solved using the chameleon with a fast dispense-to-plunge time yields molecular information regarding similarities and differences to the well studied Escherichia coli class Ia RNR α4β4 ring.