High-density chemical cross-linking for modeling protein interactions
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Detailed mechanistic understanding of protein complex function is greatly enhanced by insights from its 3-dimensional structure. Traditional methods of protein structure elucidation remain expensive and labor-intensive and require highly purified starting material. Chemical cross-linking coupled with mass spectrometry offers an alternative that has seen increased use, especially in combination with other experimental approaches like cryo-electron microscopy. Here we report advances in method
... elopment, combining several orthogonal cross-linking chemistries as well as improvements in search algorithms, statistical analysis, and computational cost to achieve coverage of 1 unique cross-linked position pair for every 7 amino acids at a 1% false discovery rate. This is accomplished without any peptide-level fractionation or enrichment. We apply our methods to model the complex between a carbonic anhydrase (CA) and its protein inhibitor, showing that the cross-links are self-consistent and define the interaction interface at high resolution. The resulting model suggests a scaffold for development of a class of protein-based inhibitors of the CA family of enzymes. We next cross-link the yeast proteasome, identifying 3,893 unique cross-linked peptides in 3 mass spectrometry runs. The dataset includes 1,704 unique cross-linked position pairs for the proteasome subunits, more than half of them intersubunit. Using multiple recently solved cryo-EM structures, we show that observed cross-links reflect the conformational dynamics and disorder of some proteasome subunits. We further demonstrate that this level of cross-linking density is sufficient to model the architecture of the 19-subunit regulatory particle de novo.