Revealing the quaternary structure of a heterogeneous noncovalent protein complex through surface-induced dissociation

Anne E. Blackwell, Eric D. Dodds, Vahe Bandarian, Vicki H. Wysocki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


As scientists begin to appreciate the extent to which quaternary structure facilitates protein function, determination of the subunit arrangement within noncovalent protein complexes is increasingly important. While native mass spectrometry shows promise for the study of noncovalent complexes, few developments have been made toward the determination of subunit architecture, and no mass spectrometry activation method yields complete topology information. Here, we illustrate the surface-induced dissociation of a heterohexamer, toyocamycin nitrile hydratase, directly into its constituent trimers. We propose that the single-step nature of this activation in combination with high energy deposition allows for dissociation prior to significant unfolding or other large-scale rearrangement. This method can potentially allow for dissociation of a protein complex into subcomplexes, facilitating the mapping of subunit contacts and thus determination of quaternary structure of protein complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2862-2865
Number of pages4
JournalAnalytical chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry

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