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The tobacco mosaic viral capsid protein (TMV) is a frequent target for derivatization for myriad applications, including drug delivery, biosensing, and light harvesting. However, solutions of the stacked disk assembly state of TMV are difficult to characterize quantitatively due to their large size and multiple assembled states. Charge detection mass spectrometry (CDMS) addresses the need to characterize heterogeneous populations of large protein complexes in solution quickly and accurately. Using CDMS, previously unobserved assembly states of TMV, including 16-monomer disks and odd-numbered disk stacks, have been characterized. We additionally employed a peptide-protein conjugation reaction in conjunction with CDMS to demonstrate that modified TMV proteins do not redistribute between disks. Finally, this technique was used to discriminate between protein complexes of near-identical mass but different configurations. We have gained a greater understanding of the behavior of TMV, a protein used across a broad variety of fields and applications, in the solution state.


Amanda J Bischoff, Conner C Harper, Evan R Williams, Matthew B Francis. Characterizing Heterogeneous Mixtures of Assembled States of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus Using Charge Detection Mass Spectrometry. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2022 Dec 28;144(51):23368-23378

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PMID: 36525679

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