Characterization of multiprotein complexes (MPCs) is an important step toward an integrative view of protein interaction networks and prerequisite for a molecular understanding of how a certain MPC functions. Here, we present a technique utilizing monoclonal subunit-specific antibodies for an electrophoretic immunoshift assay in Blue Native-gels (NAMOS-assay), which allows the determination of the stoichiometry of MPCs. First, we use the B cell antigen receptor as a model MPC whose stoichiometry is known, confirming the HC2LC2Igα/β1 stoichiometry. Second, we demonstrate that the digitonin-extracted T cell antigen receptor (TCR) extracted from T cells has a stoichiometry of αβε2γδζ2. We then show that the NAMOS-assay does not require purified MPCs, since it can determine the stoichiometry of an MPC in cell lysates. The NAMOS-assay is also compatible with use of epitope tags appended to the protein of interest, as e.g. the widely used HA-tag, and anti-epitope antibodies for the assay. Given its general applicability, this method has a wide potential for MPC research.
- Blue Native