A Label-free Mass Spectrometry Method to Predict Endogenous Protein Complex Composition.


‡Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana [Email]


Information on the composition of protein complexes can accelerate mechanistic analyses of cellular systems. Protein complex composition identifies genes that function together and provides clues about regulation within and between cellular pathways. Cytosolic protein complexes control metabolic flux, signal transduction, protein abundance, and the activities of cytoskeletal and endomembrane systems. It has been estimated that one third of all cytosolic proteins in leaves exist in an oligomeric state, yet the composition of nearly all remain unknown. Subunits of stable protein complexes copurify, and combinations of mass-spectrometry-based protein correlation profiling and bioinformatic analyses have been used to predict protein complex subunits. Because of uncertainty regarding the power or availability of bioinformatic data to inform protein complex predictions across diverse species, it would be highly advantageous to predict composition based on elution profile data alone. Here we describe a mass spectrometry-based protein correlation profiling approach to predict the composition of hundreds of protein complexes based on biochemical data. Extracts were obtained from an intact organ and separated in parallel by size and charge under nondenaturing conditions. More than 1000 proteins with reproducible elution profiles across all replicates were subjected to clustering analyses. The resulting dendrograms were used to predict the composition of known and novel protein complexes, including many that are likely to assemble through self-interaction. An array of validation experiments demonstrated that this new method can drive protein complex discovery, guide hypothesis testing, and enable systems-level analyses of protein complex dynamics in any organism with a sequenced genome.


Arabidopsis,Label-free quantification,Macromolecular complex analysis,Plant Biology*,Protein complex analysis,Protein correlation profiling,

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