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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Developing new isotope-coded mass spectrometry-cleavable cross-linkers for elucidating protein structures

  • Author(s): Yu, C
  • Kandur, W
  • Kao, A
  • Rychnovsky, S
  • Huang, L
  • et al.

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Structural characterization of protein complexes is essential for the understanding of their function and regulation. However, it remains challenging due to limitations in existing tools. With recent technological improvements, cross-linking mass spectrometry (XL-MS) has become a powerful strategy to define protein-protein interactions and elucidate structural topologies of protein complexes. To further advance XL-MS studies, we present here the development of new isotope-coded MS-cleavable homobifunctional cross-linkers: d0- and d10-labeled dimethyl disuccinimidyl sulfoxide (DMDSSO). Detailed characterization of DMDSSO cross-linked peptides further demonstrates that sulfoxide-containing MS-cleavable cross-linkers offer robust and predictable MS2 fragmentation of cross-linked peptides, permitting subsequent MS3 analysis for simplified, unambiguous identification. Concurrent usage of these reagents provides a characteristic doublet pattern of DMDSSO cross-linked peptides, thus aiding in the confidence of cross-link identification by MSn analysis. More importantly, the unique isotopic profile permits quantitative analysis of cross-linked peptides and therefore expands the capability of XL-MS strategies to analyze both static and dynamic protein interactions. Together, our work has established a new XL-MS workflow for future studies toward the understanding of structural dynamics of protein complexes. © 2014 American Chemical Society.

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