Protein complexes subjected to tandem mass spectrometry reveal allosteric binding partners

Protein complexes subjected to tandem mass spectrometry reveal allosteric binding partners

Prof. Dame Carol Robinson

University of Oxford

Recent discoveries have enabled transmission into the gas phase of membrane complexes from detergent micelles in solution. By maintaining interactions between membrane and cytoplasmic subunits in the mass spectrometer, it is now possible to investigate the effects of lipids, nucleotides and drugs on intact membrane assemblies. These investigations reveal allosteric and synergistic effects of small molecule binding and expose the consequences of post-translational modifications. Whilst very insightful, the choice of detergent can sometimes perturb interactions within the membrane leading to changes in the lipid environment, loss of small molecules and disruption of protein interactions.  In my lecture, I will present recent progress in our quest to eject complexes directly from membrane mimetics or native membranes and to fragment the small molecules harboured within them.


Professor Dame Carol Robinson DBE FRS FMedSci FRSC

Carol Robinson holds the Chair of Dr. Lee’s Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and is the first Director of the Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery at Oxford.  She is recognised for establishing mass spectrometry as a viable technology to study the structure, function and interactions of proteins and their complexes.  Carol graduated from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1979 and completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. She took a career break of eight years to bring up her children, later becoming Professor of Mass Spectrometry at the University of Cambridge (2001-2009).  She has occupied her current professorial position in Oxford Chemistry since 2009.  Her work has attracted over twenty awards and prizes including most recently, the Othmer Gold Medal from the Science History Institute (2021),  Royal Medal A from the Royal Society, the Novozymes Prize from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Stein and Moore Award from the Protein Society (2019) and the Field and Franklin Award from the American Chemical Society (2018).   Carol is the former  President of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2018-2020), a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences USA and an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She was awarded a DBE in 2013 for services to science and industry.

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