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Nat Protoc. 2014 Jan;9(1):37-50. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2013.164. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

Proteome-wide enrichment of proteins modified by lysine methylation.

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1] Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA. [2].


We present a protocol for using the triple malignant brain tumor domains of L3MBTL1 (3xMBT), which bind to mono- and di-methylated lysine with minimal sequence specificity, in order to enrich for such methylated lysine from cell lysates. Cells in culture are grown with amino acids containing light or heavy stable isotopic labels. Methylated proteins are enriched by incubating cell lysates with 3xMBT, or with the binding-null D355N mutant as a negative control. Quantitative liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) are then used to identify proteins that are specifically enriched by 3xMBT pull-down. The addition of a third isotopic label allows the comparison of protein lysine methylation between different biological conditions. Unlike most approaches, our strategy does not require a prior hypothesis of candidate methylated proteins, and it recognizes a wider range of methylated proteins than any available method using antibodies. Cells are prepared by growing in isotopic labeling medium for about 7 d; the process of enriching methylated proteins takes 3 d and analysis by LC-MS/MS takes another 1-2 d.

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