Directed Self-Assembly of Monodisperse Phospholipid Bilayer Nanodiscs with Controlled Size

I. G. Denisov, Y. V. Grinkova, A. A. Lazarides, S. G. Sligar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a recently described self-assembly process (Bayburt, T. H.; Grinkova, Y. V.; Sligar, S. G. Nano Letters 2002, 2, 853-856), we prepared soluble monodisperse discoidal lipid/protein particles with controlled size and composition, termed Nanodiscs, in which the fragment of dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) bilayer is surrounded by a helical protein belt. We have customized the size of these particles by changing the length of the amphipathic helical part of this belt, termed membrane scaffold protein (MSP). Herein we describe the design of extended and truncated MSPs, the optimization of self-assembly for each of these proteins, and the structure and composition of the resulting Nanodiscs. We show that the length of the protein helix surrounding the lipid part of a Nanodisc determines the particle diameter, as measured by HPLC and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Using different scaffold proteins, we obtained Nanodiscs with the average size from 9.5 to 12.8 nm with a very narrow size distribution (±3%). Functionalization of the N-terminus of the scaffold protein does not perturb their ability to form homogeneous discoidal structures. Detailed analysis of the solution scattering confirms the presence of a lipid bilayer of 5.5 nm thickness in Nanodiscs of different sizes. The results of this study provide an important structural characterization of self-assembled phospholipid bilayers and establish a framework for the design of soluble amphiphilic nanoparticles of controlled size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3477-3487
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 22 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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