The intermolecular contact regions between monomers of the homodimeric DNA binding protein ParR and the interaction between the glycoproteins CD28 and CD80 were investigated using a strategy that combined chemical cross-linking with differential MALDI-MS analyses. ParR dimers were modified in vitro with the thiol-cleavable cross-linker 3,3'-dithio-bis(succinimidylproprionate) (DTSSP), proteolytically digested with trypsin and analyzed by MALDI-MS peptide mapping. Comparison of the peptide maps obtained from digested cross-linked ParR dimers in the presence and absence of a thiol reagent strongly supported a "head-to-tail" arrangement of the monomers in the dimeric complex. Glycoprotein fusion constructs CD28-IgG and CD80-Fab were cross-linked in vitro by DTSSP, characterized by nonreducing SDS-PAGE, digested in situ with trypsin and analyzed by MALDI-MS peptide mapping (+/- thiol reagent). The data revealed the presence of an intermolecular cross-link between the receptor regions of the glycoprotein constructs, as well as a number of unexpected but nonetheless specific interactions between the fusion domains of CD28-IgG and the receptor domain of CD80-Fab. The strategy of chemical cross-linking combined with differential MALDI-MS peptide mapping (+ thiol reagent) enabled localization of the interface region(s) of the complexes studied and clearly demonstrates the utility of such an approach to obtain structural information on interacting noncovalent complexes.