JCVI: Developing Limited Proteolysis and Mass Spectrometry for the Characterization of Ribosome Topography
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Suh, M. J., Pourshahian, S., Limbach, P. A.

Developing Limited Proteolysis and Mass Spectrometry for the Characterization of Ribosome Topography

J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2007 Jul 01; 18(7): 1304-17.

PubMed Citation


An approach that combines limited proteolysis and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) has been developed to probe protease-accessible sites of ribosomal proteins from intact ribosomes. Escherichia coli and Thermus thermophilus 70S ribosomes were subjected to limited proteolysis using different proteases under strictly controlled conditions. Intact ribosomal proteins and large proteolytic peptides were recovered and directly analyzed by MALDI-MS, which allows for the determination of proteins that are resistant to proteolytic digestion by accurate measurement of molecular weights. Larger proteolytic peptides can be directly identified by the combination of measured mass, enzyme specificity, and protein database searching. Sucrose density gradient centrifugation revealed that the majority of the 70S ribosome dissociates into intact 30S and 50S subunits after 120 min of limited proteolysis. Thus, examination of ribosome populations within the first 30 to 60 min of incubation provides insight into 70S structural features. Results from E. coli and T. thermophilus revealed that a significantly larger fraction of 50S ribosomal proteins have similar limited proteolysis behavior than the 30S ribosomal proteins of these two organisms. The data obtained by this approach correlate with information available from the high-resolution crystal structures of both organisms. This new approach will be applicable to investigations of other large ribonucleoprotein complexes, is readily extendable to ribosomes from other organisms, and can facilitate additional structural studies on ribosome assembly intermediates.

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