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1.  A Census of Human Soluble Protein Complexes 
Cell  2012;150(5):1068-1081.
Cellular processes often depend on stable physical associations between proteins. Despite recent progress, knowledge of the composition of human protein complexes remains limited. To close this gap, we applied an integrative global proteomic profiling approach, based on chromatographic separation of cultured human cell extracts into more than one thousand biochemical fractions which were subsequently analyzed by quantitative tandem mass spectrometry, to systematically identify a network of 13,993 high-confidence physical interactions among 3,006 stably-associated soluble human proteins. Most of the 622 putative protein complexes we report are linked to core biological processes, and encompass both candidate disease genes and unnanotated proteins to inform on mechanism. Strikingly, whereas larger multi-protein assemblies tend to be more extensively annotated and evolutionarily conserved, human protein complexes with 5 or fewer subunits are far more likely to be functionally un-annotated or restricted to vertebrates, suggesting more recent functional innovations.
PMCID: PMC3477804  PMID: 22939629
2.  A Bacteriophage Tailspike Domain Promotes Self-Cleavage of a Human Membrane-Bound Transcription Factor, the Myelin Regulatory Factor MYRF 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(8):e1001624.
Myelination of the central nervous system (CNS) is critical to vertebrate nervous systems for efficient neural signaling. CNS myelination occurs as oligodendrocytes terminally differentiate, a process regulated in part by the myelin regulatory factor, MYRF. Using bioinformatics and extensive biochemical and functional assays, we find that MYRF is generated as an integral membrane protein that must be processed to release its transcription factor domain from the membrane. In contrast to most membrane-bound transcription factors, MYRF proteolysis seems constitutive and independent of cell- and tissue-type, as we demonstrate by reconstitution in E. coli and yeast. The apparent absence of physiological cues raises the question as to how and why MYRF is processed. By using computational methods capable of recognizing extremely divergent sequence homology, we identified a MYRF protein domain distantly related to bacteriophage tailspike proteins. Although occurring in otherwise unrelated proteins, the phage domains are known to chaperone the tailspike proteins' trimerization and auto-cleavage, raising the hypothesis that the MYRF domain might contribute to a novel activation method for a membrane-bound transcription factor. We find that the MYRF domain indeed serves as an intramolecular chaperone that facilitates MYRF trimerization and proteolysis. Functional assays confirm that the chaperone domain-mediated auto-proteolysis is essential both for MYRF's transcriptional activity and its ability to promote oligodendrocyte maturation. This work thus reveals a previously unknown key step in CNS myelination. These data also reconcile conflicting observations of this protein family, different members of which have been identified as transmembrane or nuclear proteins. Finally, our data illustrate a remarkable evolutionary repurposing between bacteriophages and eukaryotes, with a chaperone domain capable of catalyzing trimerization-dependent auto-proteolysis in two entirely distinct protein and cellular contexts, in one case participating in bacteriophage tailspike maturation and in the other activating a key transcription factor for CNS myelination.
Author Summary
Membrane-bound transcription factors are synthesized as integral membrane proteins, but are proteolytically cleaved in response to relevant cues, untethering their transcription factor domains from the membrane to control gene expression in the nucleus. Here, we find that the myelin regulatory factor MYRF, a major transcriptional regulator of oligodendrocyte differentiation and central nervous system myelination, is also a membrane-bound transcription factor. In marked contrast to most well-known membrane-bound transcription factors, cleavage of MYRF appears to be unconditional. Surprisingly, this processing is performed by a protein domain shared with bacteriophages in otherwise unrelated proteins, where the domain is critical to the folding and proteolytic maturation of virus tailspikes. In addition to revealing a previously unknown key step in central nervous system myelination, this work also illustrates a remarkable example of evolutionary repurposing between bacteriophages and eukaryotes, with the same protein domain capable of catalyzing trimerization-dependent auto-proteolysis in two completely distinct protein and cellular contexts.
PMCID: PMC3742443  PMID: 23966832
3.  Defining the pathway of cytoplasmic maturation of the 60S ribosomal subunit 
Molecular cell  2010;39(2):196-208.
In eukaryotic cells the final maturation of ribosomes occurs in the cytoplasm, where trans-acting factors are removed and critical ribosomal proteins are added for functionality. Here, we have carried out a comprehensive analysis of cytoplasmic maturation, ordering the known steps into a coherent pathway. Maturation is initiated by the ATPase Drg1. Downstream, assembly of the ribosome stalk is essential for the release of Tif6. The stalk recruits GTPases during translation. Because the GTPase Efl1, which is required for the release of Tif6, resembles the translation elongation factor eEF2, we suggest that assembly of the stalk recruits Efl1, triggering a step in 60S biogenesis that mimics aspects of translocation. Efl1 could thereby provide a mechanism to functionally check the nascent subunit. Finally, the release of Tif6 is a prerequisite for the release of the nuclear export adapter Nmd3. Establishing this pathway provides an important conceptual framework for understanding ribosome maturation.
PMCID: PMC2925414  PMID: 20670889
ribosome; ribosome biogenesis; EFL1; NMD3; TIF6
4.  Ribosome stalk assembly requires the dual-specificity phosphatase Yvh1 for the exchange of Mrt4 with P0 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;186(6):849-862.
The step by step assembly process from preribosome in the nucleus to translation-competent 60S ribosome subunit in the cytoplasm is revealed (also see Kemmler et al. in this issue).
The ribosome stalk is essential for recruitment of translation factors. In yeast, P0 and Rpl12 correspond to bacterial L10 and L11 and form the stalk base of mature ribosomes, whereas Mrt4 is a nuclear paralogue of P0. In this study, we show that the dual-specificity phosphatase Yvh1 is required for the release of Mrt4 from the pre-60S subunits. Deletion of YVH1 leads to the persistence of Mrt4 on pre-60S subunits in the cytoplasm. A mutation in Mrt4 at the protein–RNA interface bypasses the requirement for Yvh1. Pre-60S subunits associated with Yvh1 contain Rpl12 but lack both Mrt4 and P0. These results suggest a linear series of events in which Yvh1 binds to the pre-60S subunit to displace Mrt4. Subsequently, P0 loads onto the subunit to assemble the mature stalk, and Yvh1 is released. The initial assembly of the ribosome with Mrt4 may provide functional compartmentalization of ribosome assembly in addition to the spatial separation afforded by the nuclear envelope.
PMCID: PMC2753163  PMID: 19797078
5.  Rational Extension of the Ribosome Biogenesis Pathway Using Network-Guided Genetics 
PLoS Biology  2009;7(10):e1000213.
Gene networks are an efficient route for associating candidate genes with biological processes. Here, networks are used to discover more than 15 new genes for ribosomal subunit maturation, rRNA processing, and ribosomal export from the nucleus.
Biogenesis of ribosomes is an essential cellular process conserved across all eukaryotes and is known to require >170 genes for the assembly, modification, and trafficking of ribosome components through multiple cellular compartments. Despite intensive study, this pathway likely involves many additional genes. Here, we employ network-guided genetics—an approach for associating candidate genes with biological processes that capitalizes on recent advances in functional genomic and proteomic studies—to computationally identify additional ribosomal biogenesis genes. We experimentally evaluated >100 candidate yeast genes in a battery of assays, confirming involvement of at least 15 new genes, including previously uncharacterized genes (YDL063C, YIL091C, YOR287C, YOR006C/TSR3, YOL022C/TSR4). We associate the new genes with specific aspects of ribosomal subunit maturation, ribosomal particle association, and ribosomal subunit nuclear export, and we identify genes specifically required for the processing of 5S, 7S, 20S, 27S, and 35S rRNAs. These results reveal new connections between ribosome biogenesis and mRNA splicing and add >10% new genes—most with human orthologs—to the biogenesis pathway, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
Author Summary
Ribosomes are the extremely complex cellular machines responsible for constructing new proteins. In eukaryotic cells, such as yeast, each ribosome contains more than 80 protein or RNA components. These complex machines must themselves be assembled by an even more complex machinery spanning multiple cellular compartments and involving perhaps 200 components in an ordered series of processing events, resulting in delivery of the two halves of the mature ribosome, the 40S and 60S components, to the cytoplasm. The ribosome biogenesis machinery has been only partially characterized, and many lines of evidence suggest that there are additional components that are still unknown. We employed an emerging computational technique called network-guided genetics to identify new candidate genes for this pathway. We then tested the candidates in a battery of experimental assays to determine what roles the genes might play in the biogenesis of ribosomes. This approach proved an efficient route to the discovery of new genes involved in ribosome biogenesis, significantly extending our understanding of a universally conserved eukaryotic process.
PMCID: PMC2749941  PMID: 19806183
6.  Integrating shotgun proteomics and mRNA expression data to improve protein identification 
Bioinformatics  2009;25(11):1397-1403.
Motivation: Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) offers fast and reliable characterization of complex protein mixtures, but suffers from low sensitivity in protein identification. In a typical shotgun proteomics experiment, it is assumed that all proteins are equally likely to be present. However, there is often other information available, e.g. the probability of a protein's presence is likely to correlate with its mRNA concentration.
Results: We develop a Bayesian score that estimates the posterior probability of a protein's presence in the sample given its identification in an MS/MS experiment and its mRNA concentration measured under similar experimental conditions. Our method, MSpresso, substantially increases the number of proteins identified in an MS/MS experiment at the same error rate, e.g. in yeast, MSpresso increases the number of proteins identified by ∼40%. We apply MSpresso to data from different MS/MS instruments, experimental conditions and organisms (Escherichia coli, human), and predict 19–63% more proteins across the different datasets. MSpresso demonstrates that incorporating prior knowledge of protein presence into shotgun proteomics experiments can substantially improve protein identification scores.
Availability and Implementation: Software is available upon request from the authors. Mass spectrometry datasets and supplementary information are available from
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data website:
PMCID: PMC2682515  PMID: 19318424
7.  Bud23 Methylates G1575 of 18S rRNA and Is Required for Efficient Nuclear Export of Pre-40S Subunits▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3151-3161.
BUD23 was identified from a bioinformatics analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes involved in ribosome biogenesis. Deletion of BUD23 leads to severely impaired growth, reduced levels of the small (40S) ribosomal subunit, and a block in processing 20S rRNA to 18S rRNA, a late step in 40S maturation. Bud23 belongs to the S-adenosylmethionine-dependent Rossmann-fold methyltransferase superfamily and is related to small-molecule methyltransferases. Nevertheless, we considered that Bud23 methylates rRNA. Methylation of G1575 is the only mapped modification for which the methylase has not been assigned. Here, we show that this modification is lost in bud23 mutants. The nuclear accumulation of the small-subunit reporters Rps2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) and Rps3-GFP, as well as the rRNA processing intermediate, the 5′ internal transcribed spacer 1, indicate that bud23 mutants are defective for small-subunit export. Mutations in Bud23 that inactivated its methyltransferase activity complemented a bud23Δ mutant. In addition, mutant ribosomes in which G1575 was changed to adenosine supported growth comparable to that of cells with wild-type ribosomes. Thus, Bud23 protein, but not its methyltransferase activity, is important for biogenesis and export of the 40S subunit in yeast.
PMCID: PMC2423152  PMID: 18332120
8.  Mechanisms of Cell Cycle Control Revealed by a Systematic and Quantitative Overexpression Screen in S. cerevisiae 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(7):e1000120.
Regulation of cell cycle progression is fundamental to cell health and reproduction, and failures in this process are associated with many human diseases. Much of our knowledge of cell cycle regulators derives from loss-of-function studies. To reveal new cell cycle regulatory genes that are difficult to identify in loss-of-function studies, we performed a near-genome-wide flow cytometry assay of yeast gene overexpression-induced cell cycle delay phenotypes. We identified 108 genes whose overexpression significantly delayed the progression of the yeast cell cycle at a specific stage. Many of the genes are newly implicated in cell cycle progression, for example SKO1, RFA1, and YPR015C. The overexpression of RFA1 or YPR015C delayed the cell cycle at G2/M phases by disrupting spindle attachment to chromosomes and activating the DNA damage checkpoint, respectively. In contrast, overexpression of the transcription factor SKO1 arrests cells at G1 phase by activating the pheromone response pathway, revealing new cross-talk between osmotic sensing and mating. More generally, 92%–94% of the genes exhibit distinct phenotypes when overexpressed as compared to their corresponding deletion mutants, supporting the notion that many genes may gain functions upon overexpression. This work thus implicates new genes in cell cycle progression, complements previous screens, and lays the foundation for future experiments to define more precisely roles for these genes in cell cycle progression.
Author Summary
All cells require proper cell cycle regulation; failure leads to numerous human diseases. Cell cycle mechanisms are broadly conserved across eukaryotes, with many key regulatory genes known. Nonetheless, our knowledge of regulators is incomplete. Many classic studies have analyzed yeast loss-of-function mutants to identify cell cycle genes. Studies have also implicated genes based upon their overexpression phenotypes, but the effects of gene overexpression on the cell cycle have not been quantified for all yeast genes. We individually quantified the effect of overexpression on cell cycle progression for nearly all (91%) of yeast genes, and we report the 108 genes causing the most significant and reproducible cell cycle defects, most of which have not been previously observed. We characterize three genes in more detail, implicating one in chromosomal segregation and mitotic spindle formation. A second affects mitotic stability and the DNA damage checkpoint. Curiously, overexpression of a third gene, SKO1, arrests the cell cycle by activating the pheromone response pathway, with cells mistakenly behaving as if mating pheromone is present. These results establish a basis for future experiments elucidating precise cell cycle roles for these genes. Similar assays in human cells could help further clarify the many connections between cell cycle control and cancers.
PMCID: PMC2438615  PMID: 18617996
9.  A map of human protein interactions derived from co-expression of human mRNAs and their orthologs 
The human protein interaction network will offer global insights into the molecular organization of cells and provide a framework for modeling human disease, but the network's large scale demands new approaches. We report a set of 7000 physical associations among human proteins inferred from indirect evidence: the comparison of human mRNA co-expression patterns with those of orthologous genes in five other eukaryotes, which we demonstrate identifies proteins in the same physical complexes. To evaluate the accuracy of the predicted physical associations, we apply quantitative mass spectrometry shotgun proteomics to measure elution profiles of 3013 human proteins during native biochemical fractionation, demonstrating systematically that putative interaction partners tend to co-sediment. We further validate uncharacterized proteins implicated by the associations in ribosome biogenesis, including WBSCR20C, associated with Williams–Beuren syndrome. This meta-analysis therefore exploits non-protein-based data, but successfully predicts associations, including 5589 novel human physical protein associations, with measured accuracies of 54±10%, comparable to direct large-scale interaction assays. The new associations' derivation from conserved in vivo phenomena argues strongly for their biological relevance.
PMCID: PMC2387231  PMID: 18414481
interactions; mass spectrometry; networks; proteomics; systems biology
10.  An Improved, Bias-Reduced Probabilistic Functional Gene Network of Baker's Yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(10):e988.
Probabilistic functional gene networks are powerful theoretical frameworks for integrating heterogeneous functional genomics and proteomics data into objective models of cellular systems. Such networks provide syntheses of millions of discrete experimental observations, spanning DNA microarray experiments, physical protein interactions, genetic interactions, and comparative genomics; the resulting networks can then be easily applied to generate testable hypotheses regarding specific gene functions and associations.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report a significantly improved version (v. 2) of a probabilistic functional gene network [1] of the baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We describe our optimization methods and illustrate their effects in three major areas: the reduction of functional bias in network training reference sets, the application of a probabilistic model for calculating confidences in pair-wise protein physical or genetic interactions, and the introduction of simple thresholds that eliminate many false positive mRNA co-expression relationships. Using the network, we predict and experimentally verify the function of the yeast RNA binding protein Puf6 in 60S ribosomal subunit biogenesis.
YeastNet v. 2, constructed using these optimizations together with additional data, shows significant reduction in bias and improvements in precision and recall, in total covering 102,803 linkages among 5,483 yeast proteins (95% of the validated proteome). YeastNet is available from
PMCID: PMC1991590  PMID: 17912365

Results 1-10 (10)