Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The fact that ions of macromolecular complexes produced by electrospray ionization can be maintained intact in a mass spectrometer has stimulated exciting new lines of research. In this review we chart the progress of this research from the observation of simple homo-oligomers to complex heterogeneous macromolecular assemblies of mega-Dalton proportions. The applications described herein not only confirm the status of mass spectrometry (MS) as a structural biology approach to complement X-ray analysis or electron microscopy, but also highlight unique attributes of the methodology. This is exemplified in studies of the biogenesis of macromolecular complexes and in the exchange of subunits between macromolecular complexes. Moreover, recent successes in revealing the overall subunit architecture of complexes are set to promote MS from a complementary approach to a structural biology tool in its own right.

Original publication




Journal article


Annu Rev Biochem

Publication Date





167 - 193


Mass Spectrometry, Models, Molecular, Molecular Weight, Multiprotein Complexes, Protein Conformation, Protein Subunits, Solutions