Direct identification of functional amyloid proteins by label-free quantitative mass spectrometry

Heidi Nolsøe Danielsen, Susan Hove Hansen, Florian-Alexander Herbst, Henrik Kjeldal, Allan Stensballe, Per Halkjær Nielsen, Morten Simonsen Dueholm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Functional amyloids are important structural and functional components of many biofilms, yet our knowledge of these fascinating polymers is limited to a few examples for which the native amyloids have been isolated in pure form. Isolation of the functional amyloids from other cell components represents a major bottleneck in the search for new functional amyloid systems. Here we present a label-free quantitative mass spectrometry method that allows identification of amyloid proteins directly in cell lysates. The method takes advantage of the extreme structural stability and polymeric nature of functional amyloids and the ability of concentrated formic acid to depolymerize the amyloids. An automated data processing pipeline that provides a short list of amyloid protein candidates was developed based on an amyloid-specific sigmoidal abundance signature in samples treated with increasing concentrations of formic acid. The method was evaluated using the Escherichiacoli curli and the Pseudomonas Fap system. It confidently identified the major amyloid subunit for both systems, as well as the minor subunit for the curli system. A few non-amyloid proteins also displayed the sigmoidal abundance signature. However, only one of these contained a sec-dependent signal peptide, which characterizes most of all secreted proteins, including all currently known functional bacterial amyloids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017


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