Crosslinking mass spectrometry (Crosslinking MS) has developed into a robust technique that is increasingly used to investigate the interactomes of organelles and cells. However, the incomplete and noisy information in the spectra limits the numbers of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) that can be confidently identified. Here, we successfully leveraged chromatographic retention time (RT) information to aid the identification of crosslinked peptides from spectra. Our Siamese machine learning model xiRT achieved highly accurate RT predictions of crosslinked peptides in a multi-dimensional separation of crosslinked E. coli lysate. We combined strong cation exchange (SCX), hydrophilic strong anion exchange (hSAX) and reversed-phase (RP) chromatography and reached R^2 0.94 in RP and a margin of error of 1 fraction for hSAX in 94%, and SCX in 85% of the predictions. Importantly, supplementing the search engine score with retention time features led to a 1.4-fold increase in PPIs at a 1% false discovery rate. We also demonstrate the value of this approach for the more routine analysis of a crosslinked multiprotein complexes. An increase of 1.7-fold in heteromeric crosslinked residue-pairs was achieved at 1% residue-pair FDR for Fanconi anaemia monoubiquitin ligase complex, solely using reversed-phase RT. Retention times are a powerful complement to mass spectrometric information to increase the sensitivity of Crosslinking MS analyses.
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