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Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Apr;46(2):152-64. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2011.559451.

Protein-nucleic acid complexes and the role of mass spectrometry in their structure determination.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK.


Mass spectrometry is now established as a powerful tool for the study of the stoichiometry, interactions, dynamics, and subunit architecture of large protein assemblies and their subcomplexes. Recent evidence has suggested that the 3D structure of protein complexes can be maintained intact in the gas phase, highlighting the potential of ion mobility to contribute to structural biology. A key challenge is to integrate the compositional and structural information from ion mobility mass spectrometry with molecular modelling approaches to produce 3D models of intact protein complexes. In this review, we focus on the mass spectrometry of protein-nucleic acid assemblies with particular attention to the application of ion mobility, an emerging technique in structural studies. We also discuss the challenges that lie ahead for the full integration of ion mobility mass spectrometry with structural biology.

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