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Biological Mass Spectrometry

Mass spectrometry was long considered a specialist technology for physicists and chemists, but is now used across biological research. Two major driving forces of this development are Electrospray Ionization and the Orbitrap mass analyzer. On the occasion of their 30th and 20th anniversary in 2019, we assembled this collection of Nature Communications articles. As the advances of mass spectrometry are closely connected to the emergence of proteomics, we updated this collection in 2020 to celebrate 10 years of the Human Proteome Project.

The Opinion section includes an Editorial as well as Commentaries from Matthias Mann and Alexander Makarov, giving personal accounts of the invention and evolution of Electrospray Ionization and Orbitrap, respectively. The sections Protein Mass Spectrometry and Beyond Proteins feature various applications of Electrospray Ionization- and Orbitrap-based mass spectrometry. Recent advances in characterizing the human proteome in health and disease are presented in The Human Proteome section.

Imaging mass spectrometry is a powerful emerging tool for mapping the spatial distribution of biomolecules across tissue surfaces. Here the authors showcase an automated technology for deep proteome imaging that utilizes ultrasensitive microfluidics and a mass spectrometry workflow to analyze tissue voxels, generating quantitative cell-type-specific images.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Proteomics is often used to map protein-drug interactions but identifying a drug’s protein targets along with the binding interfaces has not been achieved yet. Here, the authors integrate limited proteolysis and machine learning for the proteome-wide mapping of drug protein targets and binding sites.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

While archaeal proteomics advanced rapidly, a comprehensive proteome database for archaea is lacking. Therefore, the authors here launch the Archaeal Proteome Project, a community-effort providing insights into archaeal cell biology via the combined reanalysis of Haloferax volcanii proteomics data.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Validating crosslinking-mass spectrometry workflows is hampered by the lack of a ground truth to assess the robustness of the crosslink identifications. Here, the authors present a synthetic library of crosslinked peptides, enabling unambiguous discrimination of correct and incorrect crosslink identifications.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Here, Hashimoto et al. apply mass spectrometry-based thermal proximity coaggregation to characterize the temporal dynamics of virus-host protein-protein interactions during human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, uncovering proviral functions including the internalization of the HCMV receptor integrin beta 1 with CD63.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Neoantigens determine anti-cancer immunoreactivity and are important functional targets for immunotherapy. Here, the authors use deep mass spectrometry to characterize neoepitopes from human melanoma tissue and show the presence of tumour-reactive T cells with specificity for selected neoantigens.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

SWATH-mass spectrometry consists of a data-independent acquisition and a targeted data analysis strategy that aims to maintain the favorable quantitative characteristics on the scale of thousands of proteins. Here, using data generated by eleven groups worldwide, the authors show that SWATH-MS is capable of generating highly reproducible data across different laboratories.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in signalling and specific targets is not fully understood. Here the authors perform a global proteomic analysis to delineate the yeast redoxome and show that increased levels of intracellular ROS caused by dysfunctional mitochondria decrease global protein synthesis.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

There is a great need of developing highly sensitive mass spectrometry-based proteomics analysis for small cell populations. Here, the authors establish a robotically controlled chip-based nanodroplet processing platform and demonstrate its ability to profile the proteome from 10–100 mammalian cells.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Diffuse-type gastric cancer (DGC) accounts for 30% of gastric cancers and has few treatment options. Here the authors present a mutation and proteome dataset for 84 patients, identifying three major classes of DGC and indicating potential targets for therapy.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Gut microbial dysbiosis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Here, the authors examine host-microbiota protein interactions that occur in inflammatory bowel disease; they show an upregulation in proteins related to antimicrobial activities, and alterations in intestinal extracellular vesicles that are associated with aberrant microbiota-interactions.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Ageing causes an inability to replace damaged tissue. Here, the authors perform proteomics analyses of human haematopoietic stem cells and other cells in the bone marrow niche at different ages and show changes in central carbon metabolism, reduced bone marrow niche function, and enhanced myeloid differentiation.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

High hyperploidy is a common feature in childhood B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here, the authors perform proteogenomic and Hi-C analyses of this leukemia and the ETV6/RUNX1 subtype and show that CTCF and cohesin expression are low in hyperdiploid cases and transcriptional dysregulation in relation to topologically associating domain borders in some of these cases.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Rotary ATPases are membrane-embedded motors that produce or consume ATP and control pH within cells. Schmidt et al.use mass spectrometry to characterize the intact chloroplast ATPase from spinach and, using comparative cross-linking, show that phosphorylation affects stability and nucleotide occupancy.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are implicated in many biological functions. Here the authors expand the human and yeast RNA interactome identifying new and conserved RBPs, several of which with no prior function assigned to RNA biology or structural motifs known to mediate RNA-binding, and suggesting new roles of RNA as modulators of protein function.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Protein N-myristoylation is a ubiquitous modification implicated in the regulation of multiple cellular processes. Here, Thinon et al. report the development of a general method to identify N-myristoylated proteins in human cells and identify over 100 endogenous post- and co-translational substrates of N-myristoyltransferase.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

The spatial location of proteins within a cell is a key element of protein function. Here the authors describe hyperLOPIT—a proteomics workflow that allows the simultaneous assignment of thousands of proteins to subcellular niches with high resolution—and apply it to mouse pluripotent stem cells.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Many biopharmaceuticals exhibit mixed heterogeneity in their post-translational modifications (PTMs) that are essential for their function. Here the authors use a combination of mass spectrometry techniques to analyse human erythropoietin (EPO) and properdin to discover new PTMs on properdin and derive a biosimilarity score for various sources of EPO.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

ADP-ribosylation is a reversible post-translational protein modification involved in many cellular processes. Here the authors describe a sensitive approach for the analysis of ADP-ribosylation sites under physiologic conditions and identify lysine residues as in vivotargets of ADP-ribosylation.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Quantitative phosphoproteomics has become a standard method in molecular and cell biology. Here, the authors compare performance and parameters of phosphoproteome quantification by LFQ, SILAC, and MS2-/MS3-based TMT and introduce a TMT-adapted algorithm for calculating phosphorylation site stoichiometry.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Secondary transporters catalyse substrate translocation across the cell membrane but the role of lipids during the transport cycle remains unclear. Here authors used hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry and molecular dynamics simulations to understand how lipids regulate the conformational dynamics of secondary transporters.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

ATP can function as a biological hydrotrope, but its global effects on protein solubility have not yet been characterized. Here, the authors quantify the effect of ATP on the thermal stability and solubility of the cellular proteome, providing insights into protein solubility regulation by ATP.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications