NMR: prediction of molecular alignment from structure using the PALES software
Orientational restraints such as residual dipolar couplings promise to overcome many of the problems that traditionally limited liquid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Recently, we developed methods to predict a molecular alignment tensor and thus residual dipolar couplings for a given molecular structure. This provides many new opportunities for the study of the structure and dynamics of proteins, nucleic acids, oligosaccharides and small molecules. This protocol details the use of the software PALES (Prediction of AlignmEnt from Structure) for prediction of an alignment tensor from a known three-dimensional (3D) coordinate file of a solute. The method is applicable to alignment of molecules in many neutral and charged orienting media and takes into account the molecular shape and 3D charge distribution of the molecule.