Methods for the solubilisation of membrane proteins: the micelle-aneous world of membrane protein solubilisation

Giedre Ratkeviciute, Benjamin F Cooper, Timothy J Knowles

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The solubilisation of membrane proteins (MPs) necessitates the overlap of two contradictory events; the extraction of MPs from their native lipid membranes and their subsequent stabilisation in aqueous environments. Whilst the current myriad of membrane mimetic systems provide a range of modus operandi, there are no golden rules for selecting the optimal pipeline for solubilisation of a specific MP hence a miscellaneous approach must be employed balancing both solubilisation efficiency and protein stability. In recent years, numerous diverse lipid membrane mimetic systems have been developed, expanding the pool of available solubilisation strategies. This review provides an overview of recent developments in the membrane mimetic field, with particular emphasis placed upon detergents, polymer-based nanodiscs and amphipols, highlighting the latest reagents to enter the toolbox of MP research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1763-1777
Number of pages15
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would also like to thank the funding bodies who support us. G.R. and B.F.C. are jointly funded by the BBSRC and the University of Birmingham (through the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership — grant no. BB/M01116X/1). G.R., B.F.C. and T.J.K. are also supported by BBSRC Research grant no. BB/ S017283/1.


  • membrane protein solubilisation
  • membrane proteins
  • membrane solubilisation
  • smalp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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