Multi-protein complexes are necessary for nearly all cellular processes, and understanding their structure is required for elucidating their function. Current high-resolution strategies in structural biology are effective but lag behind other fields (e.g., genomics and proteomics) due to their reliance on purified samples rather than heterogeneous mixtures. Here, we present a method combining single-particle analysis by electron microscopy with protein identification by mass spectrometry to structurally characterize macromolecular complexes from human cell extract. We identify HSP60 through two-dimensional classification and obtain three-dimensional structures of native proteasomes directly from ab initio classification of a heterogeneous mixture of protein complexes. In addition, we reveal an ∼1-MDa-size structure of unknown composition and reference our proteomics data to suggest possible identities. Our study shows the power of using a shotgun approach to electron microscopy (shotgun EM) when coupled with mass spectrometry as a tool to uncover the structures of macromolecular machines.
Keywords: cellular fractionation; deep classification; electron microscopy; heterogeneity analysis; mass spectrometry; protein complexes; structural biology.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.