Optimized Protocol for Protein Macrocomplexes Stabilization Using the EDC, 1-Ethyl-3-(3-(dimethylamino)propyl)carbodiimide, Zero-Length Cross-Linker.

Analytical chemistry

PubMedID: 25268573

Lepvrier E, Doigneaux C, Moullintraffort L, Nazabal A, Garnier C. Optimized Protocol for Protein Macrocomplexes Stabilization Using the EDC, 1-Ethyl-3-(3-(dimethylamino)propyl)carbodiimide, Zero-Length Cross-Linker. Anal Chem. 2014;.
Since noncovalent protein macrocomplexes are implicated in many cellular functions, their characterization is essential to understand how they drive several biological processes. Over the past 20 years, because of its high sensitivity, mass spectrometry has been described as a powerful tool for both the protein identification in macrocomplexes and the understanding of the macrocomplexes organization. Nonetheless, stabilizing these protein macrocomplexes, by introducing covalent bonds, is a prerequisite before their analysis by the denaturing mass spectrometry technique. In this study, using the Hsp90/Aha1 macrocomplex as a model (where Hsp denotes a heat shock protein), we optimized a double cross-linking protocol with 1-ethyl-3-(3-(dimethylamino)propyl)carbodiimide (EDC). This protocol takes place in a two-step process: initially, a cross-linking is performed according to a previously optimized protocol, and then a second cross-linking is performed by increasing the EDC concentration, counterbalanced by a high dilution of sample and, thus, protein macrocomplexes. Using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry, we verified the efficiency of our optimized protocol by submitting (or not submitting) samples to the K200 MALDI MS analysis kit containing N-succinimidyl iodo-acetate, suberic acid bis(3-sulfo-N-hydroxysuccinimide ester), suberic acid bis(N-hydroxysuccinimide ester), disuccinimidyl tartrate, and dithiobis(succinimidyl) propionate, developed by the CovalX Company. Results obtained show that our optimized cross-linking protocol allows a complete stabilization of protein macrocomplexes and appears to be very accurate. Indeed, contrary to other cross-linkers, the "zero-length" feature of the EDC reagent prevents overdetermination of the mass of complexes, because EDC does not remain as part of the linkage.