Tandem affinity purification of protein complexes from eukaryotic cells

Zheng Ma, Victor Fung, Iván D'orso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purification of active protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid complexes is crucial for the characterization of enzymatic activities and de novo identification of novel subunits and post-translational modifications. Bacterial systems allow for the expression and purification of a wide variety of single polypeptides and protein complexes. However, this system does not enable the purification of protein subunits that contain post-translational modifications (e.g., phosphorylation and acetylation), and the identification of novel regulatory subunits that are only present/ expressed in the eukaryotic system. Here, we provide a detailed description of a novel, robust, and efficient tandem affinity purification (TAP) method using STREP- and FLAG-tagged proteins that facilitates the purification of protein complexes with transiently or stably expressed epitope-tagged proteins from eukaryotic cells. This protocol can be applied to characterize protein complex functionality, to discover post-translational modifications on complex subunits, and to identify novel regulatory complex components by mass spectrometry. Notably, this TAP method can be applied to study protein complexes formed by eukaryotic or pathogenic (viral and bacterial) components, thus yielding a wide array of downstream experimental opportunities. We propose that researchers working with protein complexes could utilize this approach in many different ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere55236
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number119
StatePublished - Jan 26 2017


  • Affinity purification
  • Biochemistry
  • Issue 119
  • P-TEFb
  • Protein complexes
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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