Nat Protoc 17 (8) 1832-1867 [2022-08-00; online 2022-06-22]
The molecular functions of a protein are defined by its inherent properties in relation to its environment and interaction network. Within a cell, this environment and network are defined by the subcellular location of the protein. Consequently, it is crucial to know the localization of a protein to fully understand its functions. Recently, we have developed a mass spectrometry- (MS) and bioinformatics-based pipeline to generate a proteome-wide resource for protein subcellular localization across multiple human cancer cell lines ( www.subcellbarcode.org ). Here, we present a detailed wet-lab protocol spanning from subcellular fractionation to MS-sample preparation and analysis. A key feature of this protocol is that it includes all generated cell fractions without discarding any material during the fractionation process. We also describe the subsequent quantitative MS-data analysis, machine learning-based classification, differential localization analysis and visualization of the output. For broad applicability, we evaluated the pipeline by using MS data generated by two different peptide pre-fractionation approaches, namely high-resolution isoelectric focusing and high-pH reverse-phase fractionation, as well as direct analysis without pre-fractionation by using long-gradient liquid chromatography-MS. Moreover, an R package covering the dry-lab part of the method was developed and made available through Bioconductor. The method is straightforward and robust, and the entire protocol, from cell harvest to classification output, can be performed within 1-2 weeks. The protocol enables accurate classification of proteins to 15 compartments and 4 neighborhoods, visualization of the output data and differential localization analysis including treatment-induced protein relocalization, condition-dependent localization or cell type-specific localization. The SubCellBarCode package is freely available at https://bioconductor.org/packages/devel/bioc/html/SubCellBarCode.html .