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Mol Cell Proteomics. 2013 May;12(5):1451-67. doi: 10.1074/mcp.M112.024497. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Protein interactions, post-translational modifications and topologies in human cells.

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Department of Genome Science, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


The unique and remarkable physicochemical properties of protein surface topologies give rise to highly specific biomolecular interactions, which form the framework through which living systems are able to carry out their vast array of functions. Technological limitations undermine efforts to probe protein structures and interactions within unperturbed living systems on a large scale. Rapid chemical stabilization of proteins and protein complexes through chemical cross-linking offers the alluring possibility to study details of the protein structure to function relationships as they exist within living cells. Here we apply the latest technological advances in chemical cross-linking combined with mass spectrometry to study protein topologies and interactions from living human cells identifying a total of 368 cross-links. These include cross-links from all major cellular compartments including membrane, cytosolic and nuclear proteins. Intraprotein and interprotein cross-links were also observed for core histone proteins, including several cross-links containing post-translational modifications which are known histone marks conferring distinct epigenetic functions. Excitingly, these results demonstrate the applicability of cross-linking to make direct topological measurements on post-translationally modified proteins. The results presented here provide new details on the structures of known multi-protein complexes as well as evidence for new protein-protein interactions.

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