We developed "fractionation profiling," a method for rapid proteomic analysis of membrane vesicles and protein particles. The approach combines quantitative proteomics with subcellular fractionation to generate signature protein abundance distribution profiles. Functionally associated groups of proteins are revealed through cluster analysis. To validate the method, we first profiled >3500 proteins from HeLa cells and identified known clathrin-coated vesicle proteins with >90% accuracy. We then profiled >2400 proteins from Drosophila S2 cells, and we report the first comprehensive insect clathrin-coated vesicle proteome. Of importance, the cluster analysis extends to all profiled proteins and thus identifies a diverse range of known and novel cytosolic and membrane-associated protein complexes. We show that it also allows the detailed compositional characterization of complexes, including the delineation of subcomplexes and subunit stoichiometry. Our predictions are presented in an interactive database. Fractionation profiling is a universal method for defining the clathrin-coated vesicle proteome and may be adapted for the analysis of other types of vesicles and particles. In addition, it provides a versatile tool for the rapid generation of large-scale protein interaction maps.
© 2014 Borner et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).