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Structure ; 29(2): 186-195.e6, 2021 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939287


Recent advances in single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have enabled the structural determination of numerous protein assemblies at high resolution, yielding unprecedented insights into their function. However, despite its extraordinary capabilities, cryo-EM remains time-consuming and resource-intensive. It is therefore beneficial to have a means for rapidly assessing and optimizing the quality of samples prior to lengthy cryo-EM analyses. To do this, we have developed a native mass spectrometry (nMS) platform that provides rapid feedback on sample quality and highly streamlined biochemical screening. Because nMS enables accurate mass analysis of protein complexes, it is well suited to routine evaluation of the composition, integrity, and homogeneity of samples prior to their plunge-freezing on EM grids. We demonstrate the utility of our nMS-based platform for facilitating cryo-EM studies using structural characterizations of exemplar bacterial transcription complexes as well as the replication-transcription assembly from the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cryoelectron Microscopy/methods , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Single Molecule Imaging/methods , Escherichia coli , Escherichia coli Proteins/chemistry , Escherichia coli Proteins/metabolism , Methyltransferases/chemistry , Methyltransferases/metabolism , RNA Helicases/chemistry , RNA Helicases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/enzymology , SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Transcription Factors/chemistry , Transcription Factors/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/chemistry , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism