Seminar by: Tim R. Dafforn, University of Birmingham – Københavns Universitet

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Seminar by: Tim R. Dafforn, University of Birmingham

“Nanoscale cookie cutters: A universal method for detergent-free membrane protein production”

Despite their clear importance in biology our knowledge of membrane protein structure and function has lagged significantly behind our knowledge of their soluble cousins. One of the main reasons for the limited progress in this area has been the inability to extract and separate membrane proteins from the rest of the membrane proteome. In the past this process was mediated by the use of detergents which, although often successful as extraction agents, often left the proteins inactive.

In recent years this loss of activity has been attributed to the loss of the immediate membrane environment surrounding the protein during detergent solubilisation which solvates the hydrophobic surfaces of the protein. To ameliorate this loss a number of methods have been developed that aim to re-solubilise the proteins complete with a lipid environment. Unfortunately these methods still involve a detergent step which strips away the native lipid environment.

In our laboratory we have developed an entirely new approach to membrane protein production that uses an inexpensive polymer (Poly Styrene Maleic Acid) to extract membrane proteins with native membrane environment directly from the host membrane. This process yields homogenous 10 nm diameter discs with a core of lipid bilayer surrounded by an annulus of polymer. We show that this method can be successfully applied to a range of proteins from a range of sources to yield a universal method for membrane protein production.

Arrangør: Birger Lindberg Møller blm@life.ku.dk. Please contact Birger if you would like to arrange a meeting.