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Dynamic protein-protein interactions (PPIs) are fundamental to spatiotemporal control of protein functions in biological systems. Dissecting binding interfaces in aqueous solution (i.e., biological interfaces) is of great importance for identifying molecular determinants that contribute to the affinity and specificity of PPIs. Herein, we describe a biochemical method, termed site-specific proximity ligation (SPL), that enables the identification and reconstruction of native binding interfaces distinct from those present in crystal structures and models from computational prediction. SPL involves the strategic incorporation of an aryl azide-containing unnatural amino acid (AZF) into residues of interest in a particular protein that forms a multiprotein complex. Depending on the interfacial role of a targeted residue, a photo-inducible highly reactive incorporated AZF moiety may react with neighboring functional groups to covalently capture an otherwise non-covalent or weak interaction with a specific partner protein, thereby revealing the landscape of biological interfaces. Using a heterotrimeric nuclear pore protein as a model, we show that the biological interfaces of the complex mapped by SPL provide new insight into dynamic molecular recognition that is missed by, or even in conflict with, static models. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Goeun Shin, Sung In Lim. Site-specific proximity ligation provides molecular insights into biologically relevant interfaces of protein-protein interaction. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2020 Dec 17;533(4):932-937

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PMID: 33008597

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