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Anal Chem. 2003 Apr 1;75(7):1557-63.

Study of the ribonuclease-S-protein-peptide complex using a radical probe and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.

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  • 1School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.


The interaction between ribonuclease (RNase) S-protein and S-peptide is examined by studying their limited oxidation within the RNase-S complex and free forms using radicals. The limited oxidation of the RNase-S complex and each component is effected through their reaction with a high flux of oxygen-based radicals generated by an electrical discharge within an electrospray ion source. Their exposure to radicals occurs on short millisecond time scales and has been consistently found not to cause any measurable structural damage or conformational change to proteins in a number of published reports. Consistent with these studies, S-peptide is preferentially protected from reactions with radicals under conditions in which it is bound to S-protein. Conversely, a region of S-protein comprising residues 96-100 constitutes the S-peptide binding domain based on its diminished reactivity with radicals within the RNase-S complex over the free S-protein. The results, for the first time, demonstrate the use of radicals generated by an electrical discharge to study protein complexes.

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