Micelles, Bicelles, Amphipols, Nanodiscs, Liposomes, or Intact Cells: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Study of Membrane Proteins by NMR

  • Laurent J. Catoire
  • Xavier L. Warnet
  • Dror E. Warschawski


Membrane protein samples for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy are made of homogeneous preparations where proteins are isolated in a nonnative environment. Liposomes or nanometric lipid bilayers represent artificial environments that can sometimes be less appropriate than more exotic surfactants like amphipols, which have been shown to keep numerous membrane proteins stable and active. Sample preparation also involves know-how in biochemistry, physical chemistry, and the use of isotope labels. Over the past decades, various membrane mimetics and protocols have been developed for either solution- or solid-state NMR. They are compared in this chapter. In-cell NMR for studies of membrane proteins is a new and very attractive alternative that we also cover in this hitchhiker’s guide to the study of membrane proteins by NMR. While high-resolution 3D structures can be determined by NMR, other useful and unique information on membrane proteins can also be obtained, complementary to information obtained otherwise, in order to get a complete view of these biomolecules and their environment.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Mixed Micelle Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Study 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported by the CNRS (UMR 7099), the Université Paris Diderot, the Labex Dynamo (ANR-11-LABX-0011-01), and a fellowship from the Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (to XLW). We thank Eric Guittet and Christina Sizun for help with the NMR, Oana Ilioaia for advice in microbiology, and Jean-Luc Popot for proofreading the manuscript. Bienvenue à Bérénice.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Physico-Chemical Biology of Membrane Proteins, UMR-CNRS 7099Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, and Université Paris DiderotParisFrance

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