Polymer Nanodiscs: Discoidal Amphiphilic Block Copolymer Membranes as a New Platform for Membrane Proteins.
Lipid nanodiscs are playing increasingly important roles in studies of the structure and function of membrane proteins. Development of lipid nanodiscs as a membrane-protein-supporting platform, or a drug targeting and delivery vehicle in general, is undermined by the fluidic and labile nature of lipid bilayers. Here, we report the discovery of polymer nanodiscs, i.e., discoidal amphiphilic block copolymer membrane patches encased within membrane scaffold proteins, as a novel two-dimensional nanomembrane that maintains the advantages of lipid nanodiscs while addressing their weaknesses. Using MsbA, a bacterial ATP-binding cassette transporter as a membrane protein prototype, we show that the protein can be reconstituted into the polymer nanodiscs in an active state. As with lipid nanodiscs, reconstitution of detergent-solubilized MsbA into the polymer nanodiscs significantly enhances its activity. In contrast to lipid nanodiscs that undergo time- and temperature-dependent structural changes, the polymer nanodiscs experience negligible structural evolution under similar environmental stresses, revealing a critically important property for the development of nanodisc-based characterization methodologies or biotechnologies. We expect that the higher mechanical and chemical stability of block copolymer membranes and their chemical versatility for adaptation will open new opportunities for applications built upon diverse membrane protein functions, or involved with drug targeting and delivery.
Fiori, MC; Jiang, Y; Zheng, W; Anzaldua, M; Borgnia, MJ; Altenberg, GA; Liang, H
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