Protein complexes and protein-protein interactions are essential for almost all cellular processes. Here, we establish a mammalian affinity purification and lentiviral expression (MAPLE) system for characterizing the subunit compositions of protein complexes. The system is flexible (i.e. multiple N- and C-terminal tags and multiple promoters), is compatible with GatewayTM cloning, and incorporates a reference peptide. Its major advantage is that it permits efficient and stable delivery of affinity-tagged open reading frames into most mammalian cell types. We benchmarked MAPLE with a number of human protein complexes involved in transcription, including the RNA polymerase II-associated factor, negative elongation factor, positive transcription elongation factor b, SWI/SNF, and mixed lineage leukemia complexes. In addition, MAPLE was used to identify an interaction between the reprogramming factor Klf4 and the Swi/Snf chromatin remodeling complex in mouse embryonic stem cells. We show that the SWI/SNF catalytic subunit Smarca2/Brm is up-regulated during the process of induced pluripotency and demonstrate a role for the catalytic subunits of the SWI/SNF complex during somatic cell reprogramming. Our data suggest that the transcription factor Klf4 facilitates chromatin remodeling during reprogramming
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