Impact: Rapid calculation of protein structural parameters

The process of determining the Collision Cross Section (CCS) of proteins using Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry (IM-MS) is used routinely in structural biology and proteomics. Existing algorithms for correlating these data are known to be computationally expensive and slow. The IMPACT (Ion Mobility Projection Approximation Calculation) algorithm developed by Oxford researchers offers a 106-fold increase in speed without a significant drop in accuracy. This technology will enable the use of IM-MS as a key part of the current hybrid approach to the characterisation of proteins and protein assembly.

Protein structure-function correlation

The structure of proteins and multi-component protein assemblies is closely related to their function in biological systems. Knowing the detailed structure of a protein enables analyses of protein function. The development of new structure determination methods and improvements to existing methods are critical to advancing the fields of both proteomics and structural biology.

Collision Cross Sections (CCSs)

The Collision Cross Section (CCS) gives an accurate measurement of the size of a protein or protein cluster. CCS can be directly used to predict interactions between multiple proteins and/or between proteins and other biological molecules. A significant bottleneck arises in making structural sense of the CCSs.

IMPACT (Ion Mobility Projection Approximation Calculation Tool)

Oxford researchers have developed the IMPACT algorithm which achieves a 106-fold efficiency increase in the calculation of CCSs when compared to IM-MS data. Whereas existing methods could take approximately 1 day to calculate the CCS for a moderately sized protein, IMPACT arrives at the same result in 0.07s.

The key advantages of this technology include:

  • No significant drop in accuracy
  • Interface allows integration with other software
  • Readily mimics more rigorous methods
  • Already adopted by more than 150 academic laboratories

This algorithm allows gas phase experiments to be used for determining CCSs and ultimately enable modelling of solution-phase separation of proteins. Oxford University Innovation is seeking external partners that wish to use this proprietary software.

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