The dynamic assembly of multi-protein complexes underlies fundamental processes in cell biology. A mechanistic understanding of assemblies requires accurate measurement of their stoichiometry, affinity and cooperativity, and frequently consideration of multiple co-existing complexes. Sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation equipped with fluorescence detection (FDS-SV) allows the characterization of protein complexes free in solution with high size resolution, at concentrations in the nanomolar and picomolar range. Here, we extend the capabilities of FDS-SV with a single excitation wavelength from single-component to multi-component detection using photoswitchable fluorescent proteins (psFPs). We exploit their characteristic quantum yield of photo-switching to imprint spatio-temporal modulations onto the sedimentation signal that reveal different psFP-tagged protein components in the mixture. This novel approach facilitates studies of heterogeneous multi-protein complexes at orders of magnitude lower concentrations and for higher-affinity systems than previously possible. Using this technique we studied high-affinity interactions between the amino-terminal domains of GluA2 and GluA3 AMPA receptors.
- Peter Schuck
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Antoine M van Oijen, University of Groningen, Netherlands
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