Correlated motions of proteins are critical to function, but these features are difficult to resolve using traditional structure determination techniques. Time-resolved X-ray methods hold promise for addressing this challenge, but have relied on the exploitation of exotic protein photoactivity, and are therefore not generalizable. Temperature jumps, through thermal excitation of the solvent, have been utilized to study protein dynamics using spectroscopic techniques, but their implementation in X-ray scattering experiments has been limited. Here, we perform temperature-jump small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering measurements on a dynamic enzyme, cyclophilin A, demonstrating that these experiments are able to capture functional intramolecular protein dynamics on the microsecond timescale. We show that cyclophilin A displays rich dynamics following a temperature jump, and use the resulting time-resolved signal to assess the kinetics of conformational changes. Two relaxation processes are resolved: a fast process is related to surface loop motions, and a slower process is related to motions in the core of the protein that are critical for catalytic turnover.

Thompson, M. C., Barad, B. A., Wolff, A. M., Cho, H. S., Schotte, F., Schwarz, D. M. C., Anfinrud, P., and Fraser, J. S.  Temperature-jump solution X-ray scattering reveals distinct motions in a dynamic enzyme.  Nat. Chem. 11, 1058–1066. abstract