Detection of nucleic acid-nuclear hormone receptor complexes with mass spectrometry

  • Claudia Bich
  • Cédric Bovet
  • Natacha Rochel
  • Carole Peluso-Iltis
  • Andreas Panagiotidis
  • Alexis Nazabal
  • Dino Moras
  • Renato ZenobiEmail author


Nuclear receptors, such as the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) or the 9-cis retinoic acid receptor (RXR), interact not only with their ligands but also with other types of receptors and with DNA. Here, two complementary mass spectrometry (MS) methods were used to study the interactions between retinoic receptors (RXR/RAR) and DNA: non-denaturing nano-electrospray (nanoESI MS), and high-mass matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI MS) combined with chemical cross-linking. The RAR·RXR heterodimer was studied in the presence of a specific DNA sequence (DR5), and a specific RAR·RXR·DNA complex was detected with both MS techniques. RAR by itself showed no significant homodimerization. A complex between RAR and the double stranded DR5 was detected with nanoESI. After cross-linking, high-mass MALDI mass spectra showed that the RAR binds the single stranded DR5, and the RAR dimer binds both single and double stranded DR5. Moreover, the MALDI mass spectrum shows a larger RAR dimer signal in the presence of DNA. These results suggest that a gene-regulatory site on DNA can induce quaternary structural changes in a transcription factor such as RAR.


Retinoic Acid Retinoic Acid Receptor Charge State Distribution Noncovalent Complex MALDI Mass Spectrum 
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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Bich
    • 1
  • Cédric Bovet
    • 1
  • Natacha Rochel
    • 2
  • Carole Peluso-Iltis
    • 2
  • Andreas Panagiotidis
    • 3
  • Alexis Nazabal
    • 4
  • Dino Moras
    • 2
  • Renato Zenobi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Applied BiosciencesETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire CNRSIllkirchFrance
  3. 3.Institute of Molecular Systems Biology (IMSB)ETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.CovalX AGSchlierenSwitzerland

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