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Electrophoresis. 2000 Jun;21(11):2180-95.

A comprehensive characterization of the T-cell antigen receptor complex composition by microcapillary liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

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Department of Molecular Biotechnology, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


It has become apparent that many intracellular signaling processes involve the dynamic reorganization of cellular proteins into complex signaling assemblies that have a specific subunit composition, function, and subcellular location. Since the elements of such assemblies interact physically, multiprotein signaling complexes can be isolated and analyzed. Recent technical advances in highly sensitive protein identification by electrospray-tandem mass spectrometry have dramatically increased the sensitivity with which such analyses can be performed. The T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) is an oligomeric transmembrane protein complex that is essential to T-cell recognition and function. The extracellular protein domains are responsible for ligand binding while intracellular domains generate and transduce signals in response to specific receptor-ligand interactions. We used microbore capillary chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to investigate the composition of the TCR protein complex isolated from resting and activated cells of the murine T-cell line CD11.3. We identified all the previously known subunits of the TCR/CD3 complex as well as proteins previously not known to associate with the TCR. The catalytic activities of some of these proteins could potentially be used to interfere pharmacologically with TCR signaling.

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