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Eur Biophys J. 2016 Jan;45(1):3-21. doi: 10.1007/s00249-015-1093-y. Epub 2015 Dec 6.

The styrene-maleic acid copolymer: a versatile tool in membrane research.

Author information

1
Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and Institute of Biomembranes, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands. j.m.dorr@uu.nl.
2
Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and Institute of Biomembranes, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
3
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, 5001, Australia.
4
Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics, Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research and Institute of Biomembranes, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands. j.a.killian@uu.nl.

Abstract

A new and promising tool in membrane research is the detergent-free solubilization of membrane proteins by styrene-maleic acid copolymers (SMAs). These amphipathic molecules are able to solubilize lipid bilayers in the form of nanodiscs that are bounded by the polymer. Thus, membrane proteins can be directly extracted from cells in a water-soluble form while conserving a patch of native membrane around them. In this review article, we briefly discuss current methods of membrane protein solubilization and stabilization. We then zoom in on SMAs, describe their physico-chemical properties, and discuss their membrane-solubilizing effect. This is followed by an overview of studies in which SMA has been used to isolate and investigate membrane proteins. Finally, potential future applications of the methodology are discussed for structural and functional studies on membrane proteins in a near-native environment and for characterizing protein-lipid and protein-protein interactions.

KEYWORDS:

Lipid–protein interactions; Lipodisq; Membrane proteins; Native nanodiscs; SMALPs; Styrene–maleic acid copolymers

PMID:
26639665
PMCID:
PMC4698303
DOI:
10.1007/s00249-015-1093-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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