Elliptical structure of phospholipid bilayer nanodiscs encapsulated by scaffold proteins: Casting the roles of the lipids and the protein

Nicholas Skar-Gislinge, Jens Bæk Simonsen, Kell Mortensen, Robert Feidenhans'l, Stephen G. Sligar, Birger Lindberg Møller, Thomas Bjørnholm, Lise Arleth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Phospholipid bilayers host and support the function of membrane proteins and may be stabilized in disc-like nanostructures, allowing for unprecedented solution studies of the assembly, structure, and function of membrane proteins (Bayburt et al. Nano Lett. 2002, 2, 853-856). Based on small-angle neutron scattering in combination with variable-temperature studies of synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering on nanodiscs in solution, we show that the fundamental nanodisc unit, consisting of a lipid bilayer surrounded by amphiphilic scaffold proteins, possesses intrinsically an elliptical shape. The temperature dependence of the curvature of the nanodiscs prepared with two different phospholipid types (DLPC and POPC) shows that it is the scaffold protein that determines the overall elliptical shape and that the nanodiscs become more circular with increasing temperature. Our data also show that the hydrophobic bilayer thickness is, to a large extent, dictated by the scaffolding protein and adjusted to minimize the hydrophobic mismatch between protein and phospholipid. Our conclusions result from a new comprehensive and molecular-based model of the nanodisc structure and the use of this to analyze the experimental scattering profile from nanodiscs. The model paves the way for future detailed structural studies of functional membrane proteins encapsulated in nanodiscs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13713-13722
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume132
Issue number39
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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