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A Chemical Strategy for Amphiphile Replacement in Membrane Protein Research

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journal contribution
posted on 19.02.2019, 00:00 by Dongxiang Xue, Jingjing Wang, Xiyong Song, Wei Wang, Tao Hu, Lintao Ye, Yang Liu, Qingtong Zhou, Fang Zhou, Zhong-Xing Jiang, Zhi-Jie Liu, Houchao Tao
Membrane mimics are indispensable tools in the structural and functional understanding of membrane proteins (MPs). Given stringent requirements of integral MP manipulations, amphiphile replacement is often required in sample preparation for various biophysical purposes. Current protocols generally rely on physical methodologies and rarely reach complete replacement. In comparison, we report herein a chemical alternative that facilitates the exhaustive exchange of membrane-mimicking systems for MP reconstitution. This method, named sacrifice-replacement strategy, was enabled by a class of chemically cleavable detergents (CCDs), derived from the disulfide incorporation in the traditional detergent n-dodecyl-β-d-maltopyranoside. The representative CCD behaved well in both solubilizing the diverse α-helical human G protein-coupled receptors and refolding of the β-barrel bacterial outer membrane protein X, and more importantly, it could also be readily degraded under mild conditions. By this means, the A2A adenosine receptor was successfully reconstituted into a series of commercial detergents for stabilization screening and nanodiscs for electron microscopy analysis. Featured by the simplicity and compatibility, this CCD-mediated strategy would later find more applications when being integrated in other biophysics studies.