Mass spectrometry and the search for moonlighting proteins

Mass Spectrom Rev. Nov-Dec 2005;24(6):772-82. doi: 10.1002/mas.20041.


Mass spectrometry has become one of the most important techniques in proteomics because of its use to identify the proteins found in different cell types, organelles, and multiprotein complexes. This information about protein location and binding partners can provide valuable clues to infer a protein's function. However, more and more proteins are found that "moonlight," or have more than one function, and the presence of moonlighting proteins can make more difficult the identification of protein function in those studies. This review discusses examples of moonlighting proteins and how their presence can affect the results of mass spectrometry studies that identify the locations, levels, and changes in protein expression. Although the presence of moonlighting proteins can complicate the results of those studies, mass spectrometry-derived protein-expression profiles potentially provides a very powerful method to find additional moonlighting proteins because they do not require a prior hypothesis of the protein's function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Proteins / chemistry*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Proteins