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J Proteome Res. 2012 Feb 3;11(2):1454-9. doi: 10.1021/pr200846y. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Nanodiscs and SILAC-based mass spectrometry to identify a membrane protein interactome.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Integral membrane proteins are challenging to work with biochemically given their insoluble nature; the nanodisc circumvents the difficulty by stabilizing them in small patches of lipid bilayer. Here, we show that nanodiscs combined with SILAC-based quantitative proteomics can be used to identify the soluble interacting partners of virtually any membrane protein. As a proof of principle, we applied the method to the bacterial SecYEG protein-conducting channel, the maltose transporter MalFGK(2) and the membrane integrase YidC. In contrast to the detergent micelles, which tend to destabilize interactions, the nanodisc was able to capture out of a complex whole cell extract the proteins SecA, Syd, and MalE with a high degree of confidence and specificity. The method was sensitive enough to isolate these interactors as a function of the lipid composition in the disc and the culture conditions. In agreement with a previous photo-cross linking analysis, YidC did not show any high-affinity interactions with cytosolic or periplasmic proteins. These three examples illustrate the utility of nanoscale lipid bilayers to identify the soluble peripheral partners of proteins intergrated in the lipid bilayer.

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