Reconstitution of Membrane Proteins into Platforms Suitable for Biophysical and Structural Analyses

  • Philipp A. M. Schmidpeter
  • Nattakan Sukomon
  • Crina M. NimigeanEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2127)


Integral membrane proteins have historically been challenging targets for biophysical research due to their low solubility in aqueous solution. Their importance for chemical and electrical signaling between cells, however, makes them fascinating targets for investigators interested in the regulation of cellular and physiological processes. Since membrane proteins shunt the barrier imposed by the cell membrane, they also serve as entry points for drugs, adding pharmaceutical research and development to the interests. In recent years, detailed understanding of membrane protein function has significantly increased due to high-resolution structural information obtained from single-particle cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography, and NMR. In order to further advance our mechanistic understanding on membrane proteins as well as foster drug development, it is crucial to generate more biophysical and functional data on these proteins under defined conditions. To that end, different techniques have been developed to stabilize integral membrane proteins in native-like environments that allow both structural and biophysical investigations—amphipols, lipid bicelles, and lipid nanodiscs. In this chapter, we provide detailed protocols for the reconstitution of membrane proteins according to these three techniques. We also outline some of the possible applications of each technique and discuss their advantages and possible caveats.

Key words

Membrane proteins Reconstitution Amphipol Bicelles Nanodisc Membrane scaffold Membrane protein biophysics Lipids 



This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (GM088352 and GM124451 to C.N.) and the American Heart Association (18POST33960309 to P.S.). We thank J. Rheinberger for providing the gel filtration profiles and the negative stain EM image in Fig. 3a, b.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Philipp A. M. Schmidpeter
    • 1
  • Nattakan Sukomon
    • 1
  • Crina M. Nimigean
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of AnesthesiologyWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsWeill Cornell MedicineNew YorkUSA

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