Footprinting Mass Spectrometry of Membrane Proteins: Ferroportin Reconstituted in Saposin A Picodiscs

Fengbo Zhou, Yihu Yang, Saketh Chemuru, Weidong Cui, Shixuan Liu, Michael Gross, Weikai Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Membrane proteins participate in a broad range of cellular processes and represent more than 60% of drug targets. One approach to their structural analyses is mass spectrometry (MS)-based footprinting including hydrogen/deuterium exchange (HDX), fast photochemical oxidation of proteins (FPOP), and residue-specific chemical modification. Studying membrane proteins usually requires their isolation from the native lipid environment, after which they often become unstable. To overcome this problem, we are pursuing a novel methodology of incorporating membrane proteins into saposin A picodiscs for MS footprinting. We apply different footprinting approaches to a model membrane protein, mouse ferroportin, in picodiscs and achieve high coverage that enables the analysis of the ferroportin structure. FPOP footprinting shows extensive labeling of the extramembrane regions of ferroportin and protection at its transmembrane regions, suggesting that the membrane folding of ferroportin is maintained throughout the labeling process. In contrast, an amphipathic reagent, N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), efficiently labels cysteine residues in both extramembrane and transmembrane regions, thereby affording complementary footprinting coverage. Finally, optimization of sample treatment gives a peptic-map of ferroportin in picodiscs with 92% sequence coverage, setting the stage for HDX. These results, taken together, show that picodiscs are a new platform broadly applicable to mass spectrometry studies of membrane proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11370-11378
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 24 2021


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