James P. Reilly
The structures of most proteins that are bound to surfaces or involved in interactions with other molecules cannot be determined by x-ray crystallography. The combination of chemical labeling and cross-linking can provide key structural information by establishing regions of interaction. Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry methods will be used to analyze interacting proteins. Ribosomes and viruses are large complexes of protein and ribonucleic acids that provide an excellent application of this technology.
Methods utilizing novel thioimidate reagents have recently been developed to aid in the understanding of protein structure. Below is a scheme of the reaction of DEST (a novel crosslinker recently developed in the group) with a protein.