Visual proteomics of the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans.
Beck, M., Malmstrom, J.A., Lange, V., Schmidt, A., Deutsch, E.W. & Aebersold, R.
Nat Methods. 2009 Nov;6(11):817-23. Epub 2009 Oct 18.
Systems biology conceptualizes biological systems as dynamic networks of interacting elements, whereby functionally important properties are thought to emerge from the structure of such networks. Owing to the ubiquitous role of complexes of interacting proteins in biological systems, their subunit composition and temporal and spatial arrangement within the cell are of particular interest. 'Visual proteomics' attempts to localize individual macromolecular complexes inside of intact cells by template matching reference structures into cryo-electron tomograms. Here we combined quantitative mass spectrometry and cryo-electron tomography to detect, count and localize specific protein complexes in the cytoplasm of the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans. We describe a scoring function for visual proteomics and assess its performance and accuracy under realistic conditions. We discuss current and general limitations of the approach, as well as expected improvements in the future.
Proteome-wide cellular protein concentrations of the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans.
Malmstrom, J., Beck, M., Schmidt, A., Lange, V., Deutsch, E.W. & Aebersold, R.
Nature. 2009 Aug 6;460(7256):762-5. Epub 2009 Jul 15.
Mass-spectrometry-based methods for relative proteome quantification have broadly affected life science research. However, important research directions, particularly those involving mathematical modelling and simulation of biological processes, also critically depend on absolutely quantitative data--that is, knowledge of the concentration of the expressed proteins as a function of cellular state. Until now, absolute protein concentration measurements of a considerable fraction of the proteome (73%) have only been derived from genetically altered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, a technique that is not directly portable from yeast to other species. Here we present a mass-spectrometry-based strategy to determine the absolute quantity, that is, the average number of protein copies per cell in a cell population, for a large fraction of the proteome in genetically unperturbed cells. Applying the technology to the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans, a spirochete responsible for leptospirosis, we generated an absolute protein abundance scale for 83% of the mass-spectrometry-detectable proteome, from cells at different states. Taking advantage of the unique cellular dimensions of L. interrogans, we used cryo-electron tomography morphological measurements to verify, at the single-cell level, the average absolute abundance values of selected proteins determined by mass spectrometry on a population of cells. Because the strategy is relatively fast and applicable to any cell type, we expect that it will become a cornerstone of quantitative biology and systems biology.
Snapshots of nuclear pore complexes in action captured by cryo-electron tomography.
Beck, M., Lucic, V., Forster, F., Baumeister, W. & Medalia, O.
Nature. 2007 Oct 4;449(7162):611-5. Epub 2007 Sep 12.
Nuclear pore complexes reside in the nuclear envelope of eukaryotic cells and mediate the nucleocytoplasmic exchange of macromolecules. Traffic is regulated by mobile transport receptors that target their cargo to the central translocation channel, where phenylalanine-glycine-rich repeats serve as binding sites. The structural analysis of the nuclear pore is a formidable challenge given its size, its location in a membranous environment and its dynamic nature. Here we have used cryo-electron tomography to study the structure of nuclear pore complexes in their functional environment, that is, in intact nuclei of Dictyostelium discoideum. A new image-processing strategy compensating for deviations of the asymmetric units (protomers) from a perfect eight-fold symmetry enabled us to refine the structure and to identify new features. Furthermore, the superposition of a large number of tomograms taken in the presence of cargo, which was rendered visible by gold nanoparticles, has yielded a map outlining the trajectories of import cargo. Finally, we have performed single-molecule Monte Carlo simulations of nuclear import to interpret the experimentally observed cargo distribution in the light of existing models for nuclear import.
Nuclear pore complex structure and dynamics revealed by cryoelectron tomography.
Beck, M., Forster, F., Ecke, M., Plitzko, J.M., Melchior, F., Gerisch, G., Baumeister, W. & Medalia, O.
Science. 2004 Nov 19;306(5700):1387-90. Epub 2004 Oct 28.
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) are gateways for nucleocytoplasmic exchange. To analyze their structure in a close-to-life state, we studied transport-active, intact nuclei from Dictyostelium discoideum by means of cryoelectron tomography. Subvolumes of the tomograms containing individual NPCs were extracted in silico and subjected to three-dimensional classification and averaging, whereby distinct structural states were observed. The central plug/transporter (CP/T) was variable in volume and could occupy different positions along the nucleocytoplasmic axis, which supports the notion that it essentially represents cargo in transit. Changes in the position of the CP/T were accompanied by structural rearrangements in the NPC scaffold.
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