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Despite decades of advancements, the investigation of the red blood cell (RBC) cytosolic proteome still represents a challenging task because of the overwhelming abundance of hemoglobin. Besides, the separation method is one of the main limiting factors when investigating protein complexes. In this study, we performed for the first time a 2D-clear native (CN)-SDS-PAGE followed by mass spectrometry-based identification to screen multiprotein complexes (MCPs) in the cytosol of human RBCs. Upstream to 2D-CN-SDS-PAGE, we applied a recently developed native pre-enrichment strategy that allows discriminating and separately collecting three distinct fractions, one of which is highly enriched for hemoglobin. Such prefractionation strategy is conservative, in that it makes soluble native-complex analyses amenable without loss of biological information. Because of the resolution of native gel electrophoresis techniques, we could observe and describe 55 potential hetero-oligomeric MPCs from the RBC native cytosolic proteome, among which ultratetrameric hemoglobin. The detected protein complexes were characterized by proteins mainly involved in oxygen transport, antioxidant responses, metabolism, and protein degradation cascades, in agreement with recent in silico models. Metabolic enzyme oligomers also interacted with complexes of proteins involved in oxidative stress responses, thus suggesting a functional relationship between metabolic modulation and antioxidant defenses.
PMID: 23781972 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]