National Research Council of Canada. Human Health Therapeutics
Here we describe a novel crosslinker and its application as a biotin-transfer reagent to identify cell surface receptors of soluble protein ligands on live cells. This crosslinker contains three functional groups: an aldehyde-reactive aminooxy group, a sulfhydryl, and a biotin (ASB). It is readily synthesized via a 3-step addition reaction using standard solid-phase peptide synthesis methods and commercially available intermediates, allowing access to laboratories without specialized synthetic chemistry capabilities. For the biotin-transfer method, ASB is linked to a protein ligand through the sulfhydryl group in a two-step process that allows the introduction of a disulfide bond between the ligand and the crosslinker. Incubation of the labelled ligand with oxidized live cells leads to the formation of crosslinks with aldehyde-containing glycans on the cell surface receptor. Subsequent reduction of the disulfide bond results in biotin transfer from the ligand to the cell surface receptor. Protein biotinylation that is mediated by ligand binding to its receptor is differentiated from background biotinylation events by comparison with a similarly labelled control protein using comparative proteomic mass spectrometry to quantify streptavidin-bound proteins. Using this method, we successfully identified the cell surface receptors of a peptide hormone, a monoclonal antibody, and a single-domain antibody-Fc fusion construct.