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Many cellular processes involve the participation of large macromolecular assemblies. Understanding their function requires methods allowing to study their dynamic and mechanistic properties. Here we present a method for quantitative analysis of native protein or ribonucleoprotein complexes by mass spectrometry following their separation by density - qDGMS. Mass spectrometric quantitation is enabled through stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC). We provide a complete guide, from experimental design to preparation of publication-ready figures, using a purposely-developed R package - ComPrAn. As specific examples, we present the use of sucrose density gradients to inspect the assembly and dynamics of the human mitochondrial ribosome (mitoribosome), its interacting proteins, the small subunit of the cytoplasmic ribosome, cytoplasmic aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase complex and the mitochondrial PDH complex. ComPrAn provides tools for analysis of peptide-level data as well as normalization and clustering tools for protein-level data, dedicated visualization functions and graphical user interface. Although, it has been developed for the analysis of qDGMS samples, it can also be used for other proteomics experiments that involve 2-state labelled samples separated into fractions. We show that qDGMS and ComPrAn can be used to study macromolecular complexes in their native state, accounting for the dynamics inherent to biological systems and benefiting from its proteome-wide quantitative and qualitative capability. Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Petra Páleníková, Michael E Harbour, Shujing Ding, Ian M Fearnley, Lindsey Van Haute, Joanna Rorbach, Rick Scavetta, Michal Minczuk, Pedro Rebelo-Guiomar. Quantitative density gradient analysis by mass spectrometry (qDGMS) and complexome profiling analysis (ComPrAn) R package for the study of macromolecular complexes. Biochimica et biophysica acta. Bioenergetics. 2021 Jun 01;1862(6):148399

PMID: 33592209

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