Journal of Biochemical & Biophysical Methods. 17(4):237-47, 1988 Dec.

A simple method for determination of rotational correlation times and separation of rotational and polarity effects from EPR spectra of spin-labeled biomolecules in a wide correlation time range.

Steinhoff HJ

Institut fur Biophysik, Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, F.R.G.

A method using nitroxide radical spin labels for determining both the isotropic rotational correlation time tau R and the environmental polarity of the label is described. By means of a least square fitting method, the values of an effective hyperfine tensor A' and of an effective g value tensor g' of randomly oriented spin labels are determined from X-band EPR spectra on the basis of an effective time-independent Hamiltonian. The traces of the tensors deliver the information about the environmental polarity of the label and are not dependent on the rotational correlation time tau R. A new averaging parameter S (tau R), calculated on the basis of the principal values of the tensor A', permits the evaluation of the rotational correlation time tau R in a very wide time range between 10(-10) and 10(-6) s. An application of this method to spin-labeled methemoglobin over a large temperature range and in environments of different polarity is discussed.