Production of membrane proteins without cells or detergents

Sundaresan Rajesh, Timothy Knowles, Michael Overduin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)


The production of membrane proteins in cellular systems is besieged by several problems due to their hydrophobic nature which often causes misfolding, protein aggregation and cytotoxicity, resulting in poor yields of stable proteins. Cell-free expression has emerged as one of the most versatile alternatives for circumventing these obstacles by producing membrane proteins directly into designed hydrophobic environments. Efficient optimisation of expression and solubilisation conditions using a variety of detergents, membrane mimetics and lipids has yielded structurally and functionally intact membrane proteins, with yields several fold above the levels possible from cell-based systems. Here we review recently developed techniques available to produce functional membrane proteins, and discuss amphipols, nanodisc and styrene maleic acid lipid particle (SMALP) technologies that can be exploited alongside cell-free expression of membrane proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-254
JournalNew Biotechnology
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jul 2010
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2011


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