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Structure determination of macromolecular protein assemblies remains a challenge for well-established methods. Here, we provide an assessment of an emerging structural technique, ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), and examine the use of collision cross-sections (CCSs), derived from IM-MS, as restraints for structure characterization of heteromeric protein assemblies. Using 15 complexes selected from the Protein Data Bank, we validate the use of low-resolution models by comparing their CCSs with those calculated for all-atom structures. We then select six heteromeric complexes, disrupting them in solution to form subcomplexes. Experimental and calculated CCSs reveal close similarity for 18 of the 21 (sub)complexes. Exploring the use of CCS as a restraint, we incorporate it into a scoring function and show good correlation between the score and similarity to the native structure for heteromers, especially when an additional symmetry restraint was introduced.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1596 - 1609


Algorithms, Area Under Curve, Computer Simulation, Dioxygenases, Mass Spectrometry, Models, Molecular, Monte Carlo Method, Multiprotein Complexes, Protein Structure, Quaternary, ROC Curve, Tryptophan Synthase