Multiclassifier combinatorial proteomics of organelle shadows at the example of mitochondria in chromatin data

Georg Kustatscher, Piotr Grabowski, Juri Rappsilber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subcellular localization is an important aspect of protein function, but the protein composition of many intracellular compartments is poorly characterized. For example, many nuclear bodies are challenging to isolate biochemically and thus remain inaccessible to proteomics. Here, we explore covariation in proteomics data as an alternative route to subcellular proteomes. Rather than targeting a structure of interest biochemically, we target it by machine learning. This becomes possible by taking data obtained for one organelle and searching it for traces of another organelle. As an extreme example and proof-of-concept we predict mitochondrial proteins based on their covariation in published interphase chromatin data. We detect about 1/3 of the known mitochondrial proteins in our chromatin data, presumably most as contaminants. However, these proteins are not present at random. We show covariation of mitochondrial proteins in chromatin proteomics data. We then exploit this covariation by multiclassifier combinatorial proteomics to define a list of mitochondrial proteins. This list agrees well with different databases on mitochondrial composition. This benchmark test raises the possibility that, in principle, covariation proteomics may also be applicable to structures for which no biochemical isolation procedures are available.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-401
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2016


  • Chromatin
  • Machine learning
  • Mitochondria
  • Organelle
  • Systems biology


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