Examining post-translational modification-mediated protein–protein interactions using a chemical proteomics approach



Post-translational modifications (PTM) of proteins can control complex and dynamic cellular processes via regulating interactions between key proteins. To understand these regulatory mechanisms, it is critical that we can profile the PTM-dependent protein–protein interactions. However, identifying these interactions can be very difficult using available approaches, as PTMs can be dynamic and often mediate relatively weak protein–protein interactions. We have recently developed CLASPI (cross-linking-assisted and stable isotope labeling in cell culture-based protein identification), a chemical proteomics approach to examine protein–protein interactions mediated by methylation in human cell lysates. Here, we report three extensions of the CLASPI approach. First, we show that CLASPI can be used to analyze methylation-dependent protein–protein interactions in lysates of fission yeast, a genetically tractable model organism. For these studies, we examined trimethylated histone H3 lysine-9 (H3K9Me3)-dependent protein–protein interactions. Second, we demonstrate that CLASPI can be used to examine phosphorylation-dependent protein–protein interactions. In particular, we profile proteins recognizing phosphorylated histone H3 threonine-3 (H3T3-Phos), a mitotic histone “mark” appearing exclusively during cell division. Our approach identified survivin, the only known H3T3-Phos-binding protein, as well as other proteins, such as MCAK and KIF2A, that are likely to be involved in weak but selective interactions with this histone phosphorylation “mark”. Finally, we demonstrate that the CLASPI approach can be used to study the interplay between histone H3T3-Phos and trimethylation on the adjacent residue lysine 4 (H3K4Me3). Together, our findings indicate the CLASPI approach can be broadly applied to profile protein–protein interactions mediated by PTMs.