Sulfonyl fluorides are known to inhibit esterases. Early work from our laboratory has identified hexadecyl sulfonylfluoride (AM374) as a potent in vitro and in vivo inhibitor of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). We now report on later generation sulfonyl fluoride analogs that exhibit potent and selective inhibition of FAAH. Using recombinant rat and human FAAH we show that 5-(4-hydroxyphenyl)pentanesulfonyl fluoride (AM3506) has similar inhibitory activity for both the rat and the human enzyme, while rapid dilution assays and mass spectrometry analysis suggest that the compound is a covalent modifier for FAAH and inhibits its action in an irreversible manner. Our SAR results are highlighted by molecular docking of key analogs.
Although the use of hydrogen exchange (HX) mass spectrometry (MS) to study proteins and protein conformation is now over 20 years old, the perception lingers that it still has “issues”. Is this method, in fact, still in the quicksand with many remaining obstacles to overcome? We do not think so. This critical insight addresses the “issues” and explores several broad questions including: have the limitations of HX MS been surmounted and has HX MS achieved “indispensable” status in the pantheon of protein structural analysis tools.
Although small molecule actin modulators have been widely used as research tools, only one cell permeable small molecule inhibitor of actin depolymerization (jasplakinolide) is commercially available. We report that the natural product cucurbitacin E inhibits actin depolymerization and show that its mechanism of action is different from jasplakinolide. In assays using pure fluorescently labeled actin, cucurbitacin E specifically affected depolymerization without affecting polymerization. It inhibited actin depolymerization at sub-stoichiometric concentrations up to 1:6 cucurbitacin:actin E. Cucurbitacin E specifically binds to filamentous actin (F-actin) forming a covalent bond at residue Cys257, but not to monomeric actin (G-actin). Based on its compatibility with phalloidin staining, we show that cucurbitacin E occupies a different binding site on actin filaments. Using loss of fluorescence after localized photoactivation, we found that cucurbitacin E inhibited actin depolymerization in live cells. Cucurbitacin E is a widely available plant-derived natural product, making it a useful tool to study actin dynamics in cells and actin-based processes such as cytokinesis.
Pepsin was immobilized on ethyl-bridged hybrid (BEH) particles and digestion performance was evaluated in a completely online format, with the specific intent of using the particles for hydrogen deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX MS) experiments. Because the BEH particles are mechanically strong, they could withstand prolonged, continuous high-pressure at 10,000 psi. Online digestion was performed under isobaric conditions with continuous solvent flow, in contrast to other approaches where the pressure or flow is cycled. As expected, digestion efficiency at 10,000 psi was increased and reproducibly produced more peptic peptides versus digestion at 1,000 psi. Prototype columns made with the BEH pepsin particles exhibited robust performance and deuterium back-exchange was similar to that of other immobilized pepsin particles. These particles can be easily incorporated in existing HDX MS workflows to provide more peptide coverage in experiments where fast, efficient, and reproducible online pepsin digestion is desired.
Pressure; online proteolysis; enzyme; bioreactor; ultra performance liquid chromatography; UPLC; LC; ethyl-bridged hybrid; BEH; acid protease
Biologics such as monoclonal antibodies are much more complex than small-molecule drugs, which raises challenging questions for the development and regulatory evaluation of follow-on versions of such biopharmaceutical products (also known as biosimilars) and their clinical use once patent protection for the pioneering biologic has expired. With the recent introduction of regulatory pathways for follow-on versions of complex biologics, the role of analytical technologies in comparing biosimilars with the corresponding reference product is attracting substantial interest in establishing the development requirements for biosimilars. Here, we discuss the current state of the art in analytical technologies to assess three characteristics of protein biopharmaceuticals that regulatory authorities have identified as being important in development strategies for biosimilars: post-translational modifications, three-dimensional structures and protein aggregation.
In the mammalian central nervous system, monoacylglycerol
(MGL) is principally responsible for inactivating the endocannabinoid
signaling lipid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and modulates cannabinoid-1
receptor (CB1R) desensitization and signal intensity. MGL is also
a drug target for diseases in which CB1R stimulation may be therapeutic.
To inform the design of human MGL (hMGL) inhibitors, we have engineered
a Leu(Leu169;Leu176)-to-Ser(Ser169;Ser176) double hMGL mutant (sol-hMGL) which exhibited
enhanced solubility properties, and we further mutated this variant
by substituting its catalytic-triad Ser122 with Cys (sol-S-hMGL).
The hMGL variants hydrolyzed both 2-AG and a fluorogenic reporter
substrate with comparable affinities. Our results suggest that the
hMGL cysteine mutant maintains the same overall architecture as wild-type
hMGL. The results also underscore the superior nucleophilic nature
of the reactive catalytic Ser122 residue as compared to
that of Cys122 in the sol-S-hMGL mutant and suggest that
the nucleophilic character of the Cys122 residue is not
commensurately enhanced within the three dimensional architecture
of hMGL. The interaction of the sol-hMGL variants with the irreversible
inhibitors AM6580 and N-arachidonylmaleimide (NAM)
and the reversible inhibitor AM10212 was profiled. LC/MS analysis
of tryptic digests from sol-S-hMGL directly demonstrate covalent modification
of this variant by NAM and AM6580, consistent with enzyme thiol alkylation
and carbamoylation, respectively. These data provide insight into
hMGL catalysis, the key role of the nucleophilic character of Ser122, and the mechanisms underlying hMGL inhibition by different
classes of small molecules.
Active site; catalytic mechanism; drug design; enzyme inhibition; serine hydrolase
HIV-1 has evolved a cunning mechanism to circumvent the antiviral activity of the APOBEC3 family of host-cell enzymes. The HIV-1 virion infectivity factor, one of several HIV accessory proteins, targets APOBEC3 proteins for proteasomal degradation and down-regulates their expression at the mRNA level. Despite the importance of Vif for HIV-1 infection, there is little conformational data on Vif alone or in complex with other cellular factors due to incompatibilities with many structural techniques and difficulties in producing suitable quantities of protein for biophysical analysis. As an alternative, we have turned to hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HX MS), a conformational analysis method well suited for proteins that are difficult to study using X-ray crystallography and/or NMR. HX MS was used to probe the solution conformation of recombinant full-length HIV-1 Vif. Vif specifically interacted with the previously identified binding partner Hck and was able to cause kinase activation suggesting that the Vif studied by HX MS retained a biochemically competent conformation relevant to Hck interaction. HX MS analysis of Vif alone revealed low deuteration levels in the N-terminal portion indicating that this region contained structured or otherwise protected elements. In contrast, high deuteration levels in the C-terminal portion of Vif indicated that this region was likely unstructured in the absence of cellular interacting proteins. Several regions within Vif displayed conformational heterogeneity in solution including the APOBEC3G/F binding site and HCCH zinc finger. Taken together, these HX MS results provide new insights into the solution conformation of Vif.
Accessory protein; APOBEC3F/G; E3 Ligase; hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; deuterium; Vif
The function, efficacy, and safety of protein biopharmaceuticals are tied to their three-dimensional structure. The analysis and verification of this higher-order structure are critical in demonstrating manufacturing consistency and in establishing the absence of structural changes in response to changes in production. It is, therefore, essential to have reliable, high-resolution and high sensitivity biophysical tools capable of interrogating protein structure and conformation. Here, we demonstrate the use of hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (H/DX-MS) in biopharmaceutical comparability studies. H/DX-MS measurements can be conducted with good precision, consume only picomoles of protein, interrogate nearly the entire molecule with peptide level resolution, and can be completed in a few days. Structural comparability or lack of comparability was monitored for different preparations of interferon-β-1a. We present specific graphical formats for the display of H/DX-MS data that aid in rapidly making both the qualitative (visual) and quantitative assessment of comparability. H/DX-MS is capable of making significant contributions in biopharmaceutical characterization by providing more informative and confident comparability assessments of protein higher order structure than are currently available within the biopharmaceutical industry.
biotherapeutic; interferon; protein conformation; biosimilar; protein drug; structure
PEGylation is the covalent attachment of polyethylene glycol to proteins, and it can be used to alter immunogenicity, circulating half life and other properties of therapeutic proteins. To determine the impact of PEGylation on protein conformation, we applied hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDX MS) to analyze Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor (G-CSF) upon PEGylation as a model system. The combined use of HDX automation technology and data analysis software allowed reproducible and robust measurements of the deuterium incorporation levels for peptic peptides of both PEGylated and non-PEGylated G-CSF. The results indicated that significant differences in deuterium incorporation were induced by PEGylation of G-CSF, although the overall changes observed were quite small. PEGylation did not result in gross conformational rearrangement of G-CSF. The data complexity often encountered in HDX MS measurements was greatly reduced though a data processing and presentation format designed to facilitate the comparison process. This study demonstrates the practical utility of HDX MS for comparability studies, process monitoring and protein therapeutic characterization in the biopharmaceutical industry.
Protein conformation; polyethylene glycol; comparability; biopharmaceutical; post-translational modification; therapeutic protein
Discovery of EX1 kinetics in hydrogen exchange (HX) mass spectrometry (MS) experiments is rare. Proteins follow the EX1 kinetic regime when cooperative unfolding events simultaneously expose multiple residues to solvent such that they all become deuterated together before the region is able to refold. A number of factors can contribute to what we call “false EX1” in which it appears as though EX1 occurs in a protein when it probably does not. One of the contributors to false EX1 is peptide carryover between chromatographic runs. In this work, we explore the origins of peptide carryover in HX MS, describe how carryover causes mass spectra to indicate false EX1 kinetics and then describe an optimized washing protocol that can be used to eliminate peptide carryover. A series of solvent injections was developed and found to efficiently eliminate carryover signatures such that analysis of deuterium incorporation could be reliably followed for two proteins prone to high carryover.
Peptide carryover; EX1 kinetics; hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; deuterium
The HIV-1 accessory protein Nef is N-terminally myristoylated and this posttranslational modification is essential for Nef function in AIDS progression. Transfer of a myristate group from myristoyl coenzyme A to Nef occurs cotranslationally and is catalyzed by human N-myristoyl transferase-1 (NMT). To investigate the conformational effects of myristoylation on Nef structure as well as to probe the nature of the Nef: NMT complex, we investigated various forms of Nef with hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry. Conformational changes in Nef were not detected as a result of myristoylation and NMT had no effect on deuterium uptake by Nef in a myrNef:NMT complex. However, myrNef binding did have an effect on NMT deuterium uptake. Major HX differences in NMT were primarily located around the active site, with more subtle differences, at the longer timepoints, across the structure. At the shortest timepoint, significant differences between the two states were observed in two regions which interact strongly with the phosphate groups of coenzyme A. Based on our results, we propose a model of the Nef:NMT complex in which only the myristoyl moiety holds the two proteins together in complex and speculate that perhaps NMT chaperones Nef to the membrane and thereby protect the myristic acid group from the cytosol rather than Nef operating through a myristic acid switch mechanism.
Hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; protein dynamics; myristoyl coenzyme A; myristoylation
The Notch intracellular domain (NICD) forms a transcriptional activation complex with the DNA-binding factor CSL and a transcriptional co-activator of the Mastermind family (MAML). The "RAM" region of NICD recruits Notch to CSL, facilitating the binding of MAML at the interface between the ankyrin (ANK) repeat domain of NICD and CSL. Here, we report the X-ray structure of a human MAML1/RAM/ANK/CSL/DNA complex, and probe changes in component dynamics upon stepwise assembly of a MAML1/NICD/CSL complex using HX-MS. Association of CSL with NICD exerts remarkably little effect on the exchange kinetics of the ANK domain, whereas MAML1 binding greatly retards the exchange kinetics of ANK repeats 2–3. These exchange patterns identify critical features contributing to the cooperative assembly of Notch transcription complexes (NTCs), highlight the importance of MAML recruitment in rigidifying the ANK domain and stabilizing its interface with CSL, and rationalize the requirement for MAML1 in driving cooperative dimerization of NTCs on paired site DNA.
The HIV-1 Virion infectivity factor (Vif) inhibits the innate viral immunity afforded by the APOBEC3 family of cytidine deaminases. Vif targets the APOBEC3 family for poly-ubiquitination and subsequent proteasomal degradation by linking the Elongin BC dependent ubiquitin ligase complex with the APOBEC3 proteins. The interaction between Vif and the heterodimeric Elongin BC complex, which is mediated by Vif’s viral SOCS (suppressor of cytokine signaling) box, is essential for Vif function. The biophysical consequences of the full length Vif:Elongin BC interaction have not been extensively reported. In this study hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry (HX MS) was used to dissect the Vif:Elongin BC interaction. Elongin C was found to be highly dynamic in the Elongin BC complex while Elongin B was much more stable. Recombinant full length Vif interacted with the Elongin BC complex in vitro with a Kd of 1.9 μM and resulted in observable changes in deuterium uptake in both Elongin C and B. Upon binding to Elongin BC, no significant global conformational changes were detected in Vif by HX MS, but a short fragment of Vif that consisted of the viral SOCS box showed decreased deuterium incorporation upon Elongin BC incubation, suggesting that this region folds upon binding.
Hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry; protein conformation; Viral SOCS box; APOBEC3; E3 ubiquitin ligase
Broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNAbs) such as 2F5 are directed against the HIV-1 GP41 membrane proximal external region (MPER) and recognize well-defined linear core sequences. These epitopes can be engrafted onto protein scaffolds, serving as immunogens with high structural fidelity. Although antibodies that bind to the core gp41 epitope can be elicited, they lack neutralizing activity. To understand this paradox, we used biophysical methods to investigate 2F5 binding to the MPER in a membrane environment where it resides. Recognition is stepwise, through a paratope more extensive than core binding site contacts alone, and dynamically rearranging via an apparent CDRH3 scoop-like movement essential for MPER extraction from the viral membrane. Core epitope recognition on the virus requires induction of conformational changes in both the MPER and paratope. Hence, target neutralization through this lipid-embedded viral segment places stringent requirements on antibody combining-site plasticity.
The recent application of electron transfer dissociation (ETD) to measure the hydrogen exchange of proteins in solution at single-residue resolution (HX-ETD) paves the way for mass spectrometry-based analyses of biomolecular structure at an unprecedented level of detail. The approach requires that activation of polypeptide ions prior to ETD is minimal so as to prevent undesirable gas-phase randomization of the deuterium label from solution (i.e., hydrogen scrambling). Here we explore the use of ETD in a traveling wave ion guide of a quadrupole-time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass spectrometer with a “Z-spray” type ion source, to measure the deuterium content of individual residues in peptides. We systematically identify key parameters of the Z-spray ion source that contribute to collisional activation and define conditions that allow ETD experiments to be performed in the traveling wave ion guide without gas-phase hydrogen scrambling. We show that ETD and supplemental collisional activation in a subsequent traveling wave ion guide allows for improved extraction of residue-specific deuterium contents in peptides with low charge. Our results demonstrate the feasibility, and illustrate the advantages of performing HX-ETD experiments on a high-resolution Q-TOF instrument equipped with traveling wave ion guides. Determination of parameters of the Z-spray ion source that contribute to ion heating are similarly pertinent to a growing number of MS applications that also rely on an energetically gentle transfer of ions into the gas-phase, such as the analysis of biomolecular structure by native mass spectrometry in combination with gas-phase ion-ion/ion-neutral reactions or ion mobility spectrometry.
Hydrogen/deuterium exchange; Protein conformation; Electron transfer dissociation; Supplemental activation; Traveling wave ion guide
Until recently, mass spectrometry (MS) was not often associated with the analysis of protein conformation and dynamics but rather as a method to measure molecular weight and quantify molecules. However, by taking advantage of labeling methods such as hydrogen exchange (HX), many details about protein conformation, dynamics and interactions can be revealed by mass spectrometry. In the current work we provide an update that covers hydrogen exchange theory as it applies to HX MS protocols, explain in detail the practice of HX MS including data analysis and interpretation, and highlight recent advancements in technology which greatly increase the depth of information gained from the technique.
proteins; mass spectrometry; hydrogen exchange
Escherichia coli DNA polymerase III is a highly processive replicase due to the presence of the β clamp protein that tethers DNA polymerases to DNA. The β clamp is a head-to-tail ring-shaped homodimer, in which each protomer contains three structurally similar domains. Although multiple studies have probed the functions of the β clamp, a detailed understanding of the conformational dynamics of the β clamp in solution is lacking. Here we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to characterize the conformation and dynamics of the intact dimer β clamp and a variant form (I272A/L273A) with diminished ability to dimerize in solution. Our data indicate that the β clamp is not a static closed ring but rather is dynamic in solution. The three domains showed different dynamics though they share a highly similar tertiary structure. Domain I, which controls the opening of the clamp by dissociating from Domain III, contained several highly flexible peptides that underwent partial cooperative unfolding (EX1 kinetics) with a half-life ~4 h. The comparison between the β monomer variant and the wild-type β clamp showed that the β monomer was more dynamic. In the monomer, partial unfolding was much faster and additional regions of Domain III also underwent partial unfolding with a half-life ~1 h. Our results suggest that the δ subunit of the clamp loader may function as a “ring holder” to stabilize the transient opening of the β clamp, rather than as a “ring opener”.
processivity clamp; hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; EX1 kinetics; PCNA; clamp loader
Protein function is dictated by protein conformation. For the protein biopharmaceutical industry, therefore, it is important to have analytical tools that can detect changes in protein conformation rapidly, accurately and with high sensitivity. In this paper we show that hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (H/DX-MS) can play an important role in fulfilling this need within the industry. H/DX-MS was used to assess both global and local conformational behavior of a recombinant monoclonal IgG1 antibody, a major class of biopharmaceuticals. Analysis of exchange into the intact, glycosylated IgG1 (and the Fab and Fc regions thereof) showed that the molecule was folded, highly stable and highly amenable to analysis by this method using less than a nanomole of material. With improved chromatographic methods, peptide identification algorithms and data-processing steps, the analysis of deuterium levels in peptic peptides produced after labeling was accomplished in 1–2 days. Based on peptic peptide data, exchange was localized to specific regions of the antibody. Changes to IgG1 conformation as a result of deglycosylation were determined by comparing exchange into the glycosylated and deglycosylated forms of the antibody. Two regions of the IgG1 (residues 236-253 and 292-308) were found to have altered exchange properties upon deglycosylation. These results are consistent with previous findings concerning the role of glycosylation in the interaction of IgG1 with Fc receptors. Moreover, the data clearly illustrate how H/DX-MS can provide important characterization information on the higher order structure of antibodies and conformational changes that these molecules may experience upon modification.
antibody; glycosylation; biopharmaceutical; crystallography
Notch proteins are transmembrane receptors that normally adopt a resting state poised to undergo activating proteolysis upon ligand engagement. Receptor quiescence is maintained by three LIN12/Notch repeats (LNRs), which wrap around a heterodimerization domain (HD) divided by furin cleavage at site S1 during maturation. Ligand binding initiates signaling by inducing sensitivity of the HD to proteolysis at the regulated S2 cleavage site. Here, we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to examine the solution dynamics of the Notch1 negative regulatory region in autoinhibited states before and after S1 cleavage, in a proteolytically sensitive “on” state, and in a complex with an inhibitory antibody. Conversion to the “on” state leads to accelerated deuteration in the S2 region and in nearby secondary structural elements within the HD. In contrast, complexation with the inhibitory antibody retards deuteration around the S2 site. Together, these studies reveal how S2 site exposure is promoted by receptor activation and suppressed by inhibitory antibodies.
Recent studies have shown that trans-phosphorylation of the Abl SH3 domain at Tyr89 by Src-family kinases is required for the full transforming activity of Bcr-Abl. Tyr89 localizes to a binding surface of the SH3 domain that engages the SH2-kinase linker in the crystal structure of the c-Abl core. Displacement of SH3 from the linker is an event likely to influence efficient downregulation of c-Abl. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange (HX) and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to investigate whether Tyr89 phosphorylation affects the ability of the SH3 domain to interact intramolecularly with the SH2-kinase linker in cis as well as other peptide ligands in trans. HX MS analysis of SH3 binding showed that when various Abl constructs were phosphorylated at Tyr89 by the Src-family kinase Hck, SH3 was unable to engage a high-affinity ligand in trans and that cis interaction with the linker was dramatically reduced in a construct containing the SH3 and SH2 domains plus the linker. Phosphorylation of the Abl SH3 domain on Tyr89 also interfered with binding to the negative regulatory protein Abi-1 in trans. Site-directed mutagenesis of Tyr89 and Tyr245, another tyrosine phosphorylation site located in the linker that may also influence SH3 binding, implicated Tyr89 as the key residue necessary for disrupting regulation after phosphorylation. These results imply that phosphorylation at Tyr89 by Src-family kinases prevents engagement of the Abl SH3 domain with its intramolecular binding partner leading to enhanced Abl kinase activity and cellular signaling.
Hydrogen exchange; mass spectrometry; phosphorylation; Src-family kinase; Bcr-Abl; Hck
The conformational properties of proteins can be probed with hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HXMS). In order to maintain the deuterium label during LC/MS analyses, chromatographic separation must be done rapidly (usually in under 8–10 minutes) and at zero degrees Celsius. Traditional RP-HPLC with ~3 micron particles has shown generally poor chromatographic performance under these conditions and thereby has been prohibitive for HXMS analyses of larger proteins and many protein complexes. Ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) employs particles smaller than 2 microns in diameter to achieve superior resolution, speed, and sensitivity as compared to HPLC. UPLC has previously been shown to be compatible with the fast separation and low temperature requirements of HXMS. Here we present construction and validation of a custom UPLC system for HXMS. The system is based on the Waters nanoACQUITY platform and contains a Peltier-cooled module that houses the injection and switching valves, online pepsin digestion column, and C-18 analytical separation column. Single proteins in excess of 95 kDa and a four-protein mixture in excess of 250 kDa have been used to validate the performance of this new system. Near baseline resolution was achieved in 6 minute separations at 0 °C and displayed a median chromatographic peak width of ~2.7 sec at half height. Deuterium recovery was similar to that obtained using a conventional HPLC and icebath. This new system represents a significant advancement in HXMS technology that is expected to make the technique more accessible and mainstream in the near future.
Crystal structures and other biochemical data indicate that the N-terminal cap (NCap) region of the Abelson tyrosine kinase (c-Abl) is important for maintaining the downregulated conformation of the kinase domain. The exact contributions that NCap makes in stabilizing the various intramolecular interactions within c-Abl are less clear. While the NCap appears important for locking the SH3/SH2 domains to the back of the kinase domain, there may be other more subtle elements of regulation. Hydrogen exchange (HX) and mass spectrometry (MS) were used to determine if the NCap contributes to intramolecular interactions involving the Abl SH3 domain. Under physiological conditions, the Abl SH3 domain underwent partial unfolding and its unfolding half-life was slowed during binding to the SH2-kinase linker, providing a unique assay to test NCap-induced stabilization of the SH3 domain in various constructs. The results showed that NCap stabilizes the dynamics of the SH3 domain in certain constructs but does not increase the relative affinity of the SH3 domain for the native SH2-kinase linker. The stabilization effect was absent in constructs of just NCap + SH3 but was obvious when the SH2 domain and the SH2-kinase linker were present. These results suggest that interactions between NCap and the SH3 domain can contribute to c-Abl stabilization in constructs that contain at least the SH2 domain, an effect that may partially compensate for the absence of the negative regulatory C-terminal tail found in the related Src family of kinases.
The Antarctic notothenioid Trematomus bernacchii (rock cod) lives at a constant mean temperature of −1.9 °C. Gastric digestion under these conditions relies on the proteolytic activity of aspartic proteases such as pepsin. To understand the molecular mechanisms of Antarctic fish pepsins, T. bernacchii pepsins A1 and A2 were cloned, overexpressed in E. coli, purified and characterized with a number of biochemical and biophysical methods. The properties of these two Antarctic isoenzymes were compared to porcine pepsin and found to be unique in a number of ways. Fish pepsins were found to be more temperature sensitive, generally less active at lower pH and more sensitive to inhibition by pepstatin than the mesophilic counterpart. The specificity of Antarctic fish pepsins was similar but not identical to pig pepsin, likely owing to changes in the sequence of fish enzymes near the active site. Gene duplication of Antarctic rock cod pepsins is the likely mechanism for adaptation to the harsh temperature environment in which these enzymes must function.
Rock cod; aspartic proteases; specificity; cold-adapted protein
The study of membrane protein structure and enzymology has traditionally been hampered by the inherent insolubility of membrane proteins in aqueous environments and experimental challenges in emulating an in vivo lipid environment. Phospholipid bilayer nanodiscs have recently been shown to be of great use for the study of membrane proteins since they offer a controllable, stable, and monodisperse model membrane with a native-like lipid bilayer. Here we report the integration of nanodiscs with hydrogen exchange (HX) mass spectrometry (MS) experiments, thereby allowing for analysis of the native conformation of membrane proteins. Gamma-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), an ~94 kDa transmembrane protein, was inserted into nanodiscs and labeled with deuterium oxide under native conditions. Analytical parameters including sample-handling and chromatographic separation were optimized to measure the incorporation of deuterium into GGCX. Coupling nanodisc technology with HX MS offers an effective approach for investigating the conformation and dynamics of membrane proteins in their native environment and is therefore capable of providing much needed insight into the function of membrane proteins.
deuterium; gamma-glutamyl carboxylase; protein conformation
Proteins are undoubtedly some of the most essential molecules of life. While much is known about many proteins, some aspects still remain mysterious. One particularly important aspect of understanding proteins is determining how structure helps dictate function. Continued development and implementation of biophysical techniques that provide information about protein conformation and dynamics is essential. In this review, we discuss hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry and how this method can be used to learn about protein conformation and dynamics. The basic concepts of the method are described, the workflow illustrated, and a few examples of its application are provided.
Deuterium; Protein mass spectrometry; Protein dynamics; Protein conformation