Hydrogen/Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry of Heme-Based Oxygen Sensor Proteins

Methods Mol Biol. 2023:2648:99-122. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3080-8_8.


Hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX) is a well-established analytical technique that enables monitoring of protein dynamics and interactions by probing the isotope exchange of backbone amides. It has virtually no limitations in terms of protein size, flexibility, or reaction conditions and can thus be performed in solution at different pH values and temperatures under controlled redox conditions. Thanks to its coupling with mass spectrometry (MS), it is also straightforward to perform and has relatively high throughput, making it an excellent complement to the high-resolution methods of structural biology. Given the recent expansion of artificial intelligence-aided protein structure modeling, there is considerable demand for techniques allowing fast and unambiguous validation of in silico predictions; HDX-MS is well-placed to meet this demand. Here we present a protocol for HDX-MS and illustrate its use in characterizing the dynamics and structural changes of a dimeric heme-containing oxygen sensor protein as it responds to changes in its coordination and redox state. This allowed us to propose a mechanism by which the signal (oxygen binding to the heme iron in the sensing domain) is transduced to the protein's functional domain.

Keywords: Globin-coupled histidine kinase; Heme-containing oxygen sensors; Hydrogen/deuterium exchange; Ligand binding; Mass spectrometry; Protein conformational dynamics; Signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Deuterium
  • Deuterium Exchange Measurement / methods
  • Heme / chemistry
  • Hemeproteins*
  • Hydrogen / chemistry
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Oxygen / metabolism


  • Deuterium
  • Hemeproteins
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • Heme