Nearly all the macromolecular three-dimensional structures deposited in Protein Data Bank were determined by either crystallographic (X-ray) or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopic methods. A non-redundant data set containing 109 NMR - X-ray structure pairs of nearly identical proteins was derived from the Protein Data Bank. A series of comparisons were performed by focusing the attention towards both global features and local details. It was observed that: (1) the RMDS values between NMR and crystal structures range from about 1.5 Å to about 2.5 Å; (2) the correlation between conformational deviations and residue type reveals that hydrophobic amino acids are more similar in crystal and NMR structures than hydrophilic amino acids; (3) the correlation between solvent accessibility of the residues and their conformational variability in solid state and in solution is relatively modest (correlation coefficient = 0.462); (4) beta strands on average match better between NMR and crystal structures than helices and loops; (5) conformational differences between loops are independent of crystal packing interactions in the solid state; (6) very seldom, side chains buried in the protein interior are observed to adopt different orientations in the solid state and in solution.
The article is published online in The Open Biochemistry Journal and is free to access.