Michael T Marty

Michael T Marty

Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry-Sci
Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry - Med
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 621-1501

Work Summary

The Marty Lab uses mass spectrometry to study interactions of membrane proteins, peptides, and lipids within nanoscale membrane mimetics.

Research Interest

Membrane proteins play a number of critical biochemical roles and make up the majority of drug targets. Despite their importance, membrane proteins remain challenging systems for analysis due to their amphipathic nature and low expression levels. Moreover, the lipid bilayer can play an important but largely unexplored role in regulating membrane protein structure and function. New analytical and biochemical methods are necessary to better understand and design drugs to target membrane proteins.


Moutal, A., Wang, Y., Yang, X., Ji, Y., Luo, S., Dorame, A., Bellampalli, S. S., Chew, L. A., Cai, S., Dustrude, E. T., Keener, J. E., Marty, M. T., Vanderah, T. W., & Khanna, R. (2017). Dissecting the role of the CRMP2-neurofibromin complex on pain behaviors. Pain, 158(11), 2203-2221.

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a genetic disorder linked to inactivating mutations or a homozygous deletion of the Nf1 gene, is characterized by tumorigenesis, cognitive dysfunction, seizures, migraine, and pain. Omic studies on human NF1 tissues identified an increase in the expression of collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2), a cytosolic protein reported to regulate the trafficking and activity of presynaptic N-type voltage-gated calcium (Cav2.2) channels. Because neurofibromin, the protein product of the Nf1 gene, binds to and inhibits CRMP2, the neurofibromin-CRMP2 signaling cascade will likely affect Ca channel activity and regulate nociceptive neurotransmission and in vivo responses to noxious stimulation. Here, we investigated the function of neurofibromin-CRMP2 interaction on Cav2.2. Mapping of >275 peptides between neurofibromin and CRMP2 identified a 15-amino acid CRMP2-derived peptide that, when fused to the tat transduction domain of HIV-1, inhibited Ca influx in dorsal root ganglion neurons. This peptide mimics the negative regulation of CRMP2 activity by neurofibromin. Neurons treated with tat-CRMP2/neurofibromin regulating peptide 1 (t-CNRP1) exhibited a decreased Cav2.2 membrane localization, and uncoupling of neurofibromin-CRMP2 and CRMP2-Cav2.2 interactions. Proteomic analysis of a nanodisc-solubilized membrane protein library identified syntaxin 1A as a novel CRMP2-binding protein whose interaction with CRMP2 was strengthened in neurofibromin-depleted cells and reduced by t-CNRP1. Stimulus-evoked release of calcitonin gene-related peptide from lumbar spinal cord slices was inhibited by t-CNRP1. Intrathecal administration of t-CNRP1 was antinociceptive in experimental models of inflammatory, postsurgical, and neuropathic pain. Our results demonstrate the utility of t-CNRP1 to inhibit CRMP2 protein-protein interactions for the potential treatment of pain.

Marty, M. T., Zhang, H., Cui, W., Gross, M. L., & Sligar, S. G. (2014). Interpretation and deconvolution of nanodisc native mass spectra. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 25(2), 269-77.

Nanodiscs are a promising system for studying gas-phase and solution complexes of membrane proteins and lipids. We previously demonstrated that native electrospray ionization allows mass spectral analysis of intact Nanodisc complexes at single lipid resolution. This report details an improved theoretical framework for interpreting and deconvoluting native mass spectra of Nanodisc lipoprotein complexes. In addition to the intrinsic lipid count and charge distributions, Nanodisc mass spectra are significantly shaped by constructive overlap of adjacent charge states at integer multiples of the lipid mass. We describe the mathematical basis for this effect and develop a probability-based algorithm to deconvolute the underlying mass and charge distributions. The probability-based deconvolution algorithm is applied to a series of dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine Nanodisc native mass spectra and used to provide a quantitative picture of the lipid loss in gas-phase fragmentation.

Marty, M. T., Zhang, H., Cui, W., Blankenship, R. E., Gross, M. L., & Sligar, S. G. (2012). Native mass spectrometry characterization of intact nanodisc lipoprotein complexes. Analytical chemistry, 84(21), 8957-60.

We describe here the analysis of nanodisc complexes by using native mass spectrometry (MS) to characterize their molecular weight (MW) and polydispersity. Nanodiscs are nanoscale lipid bilayers that offer a platform for solubilizing membrane proteins. Unlike detergent micelles, nanodiscs are native-like lipid bilayers that are well-defined and potentially monodisperse. Their mass spectra allow peak assignment based on differences in the mass of a single lipid per complex. Resultant masses agree closely with predicted values and demonstrate conclusively the narrow dispersity of lipid molecules in the nanodisc. Fragmentation with collisionally activated dissociation (CAD) or electron-capture dissociation (ECD) shows loss of a small number of lipids and eventual collapse of the nanodisc with release of the scaffold protein. These results provide a foundation for future studies utilizing nanodiscs as a platform for launching membrane proteins into the gas phase.

Landreh, M., Marty, M. T., Gault, J., & Robinson, C. V. (2016). A sliding selectivity scale for lipid binding to membrane proteins. Current opinion in structural biology, 39, 54-60.

Biological membranes form barriers that are essential for cellular integrity and compartmentalisation. Proteins in the membrane have co-evolved with their hydrophobic lipid environment, which serves as a solvent for proteins with very diverse requirements. As a result, their interactions range from non-selective to highly discriminating. Mass spectrometry enables us to monitor how lipids interact with membrane proteins and assess their effects on structure and dynamics. Recent studies illustrate the ability to differentiate specific lipid binding, preferential interactions with lipid subsets, and nonselective annular contacts. Here, we consider the biological implications of different lipid-binding scenarios and propose that binding occurs on a sliding selectivity scale, in line with the view of biological membranes as facilitators of dynamic protein and lipid organization.

Wilcox, K. C., Marunde, M. R., Das, A., Velasco, P. T., Kuhns, B. D., Marty, M. T., Jiang, H., Luan, C. H., Sligar, S. G., & Klein, W. L. (2015). Nanoscale Synaptic Membrane Mimetic Allows Unbiased High Throughput Screen That Targets Binding Sites for Alzheimer's-Associated Aβ Oligomers. PloS one, 10(4), e0125263.

Despite their value as sources of therapeutic drug targets, membrane proteomes are largely inaccessible to high-throughput screening (HTS) tools designed for soluble proteins. An important example comprises the membrane proteins that bind amyloid β oligomers (AβOs). AβOs are neurotoxic ligands thought to instigate the synapse damage that leads to Alzheimer's dementia. At present, the identities of initial AβO binding sites are highly uncertain, largely because of extensive protein-protein interactions that occur following attachment of AβOs to surface membranes. Here, we show that AβO binding sites can be obtained in a state suitable for unbiased HTS by encapsulating the solubilized synaptic membrane proteome into nanoscale lipid bilayers (Nanodiscs). This method gives a soluble membrane protein library (SMPL)--a collection of individualized synaptic proteins in a soluble state. Proteins within SMPL Nanodiscs showed enzymatic and ligand binding activity consistent with conformational integrity. AβOs were found to bind SMPL Nanodiscs with high affinity and specificity, with binding dependent on intact synaptic membrane proteins, and selective for the higher molecular weight oligomers known to accumulate at synapses. Combining SMPL Nanodiscs with a mix-incubate-read chemiluminescence assay provided a solution-based HTS platform to discover antagonists of AβO binding. Screening a library of 2700 drug-like compounds and natural products yielded one compound that potently reduced AβO binding to SMPL Nanodiscs, synaptosomes, and synapses in nerve cell cultures. Although not a therapeutic candidate, this small molecule inhibitor of synaptic AβO binding will provide a useful experimental antagonist for future mechanistic studies of AβOs in Alzheimer's model systems. Overall, results provide proof of concept for using SMPLs in high throughput screening for AβO binding antagonists, and illustrate in general how a SMPL Nanodisc system can facilitate drug discovery for membrane protein targets.