The mammalian-membrane two-hybrid assay (MaMTH) for probing membrane-protein interactions in human cells

Nat Methods. 2014 May;11(5):585-92. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2895. Epub 2014 Mar 23.


Cell signaling, one of key processes in both normal cellular function and disease, is coordinated by numerous interactions between membrane proteins that change in response to stimuli. We present a split ubiquitin-based method for detection of integral membrane protein-protein interactions (PPIs) in human cells, termed mammalian-membrane two-hybrid assay (MaMTH). We show that this technology detects stimulus (hormone or agonist)-dependent and phosphorylation-dependent PPIs. MaMTH can detect changes in PPIs conferred by mutations such as those in oncogenic ErbB receptor variants or by treatment with drugs such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib. Using MaMTH as a screening assay, we identified CRKII as an interactor of oncogenic EGFR(L858R) and showed that CRKII promotes persistent activation of aberrant signaling in non-small cell lung cancer cells. MaMTH is a powerful tool for investigating the dynamic interactomes of human integral membrane proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Survival
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phosphotyrosine / chemistry
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Interaction Mapping / methods*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Systems Biology / methods
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques*
  • Ubiquitin / chemistry


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ubiquitin
  • Phosphotyrosine
  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors