Nanodiscs: A Controlled Bilayer Surface for the Study of Membrane Proteins

Mark A. McLean, Michael C. Gregory, Stephen G. Sligar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The study of membrane proteins and receptors presents many challenges to researchers wishing to perform biophysical measurements to determine the structure, function, and mechanism of action of such components. In most cases, to be fully functional, proteins and receptors require the presence of a native phospholipid bilayer. In addition, many complex multiprotein assemblies involved in cellular communication require an integral membrane protein as well as a membrane surface for assembly and information transfer to soluble partners in a signaling cascade. Incorporation of membrane proteins into Nanodiscs renders the target soluble and provides a native bilayer environment with precisely controlled composition of lipids, cholesterol, and other components. Likewise, Nanodiscs provide a surface of defined area useful in revealing lipid specificity and affinities for the assembly of signaling complexes. In this review, we highlight several biophysical techniques made possible through the use of Nanodiscs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Biophysics
StatePublished - May 20 2018


  • Nanodisc
  • blood coagulation
  • cancer signaling
  • fluorescence
  • integrin activation
  • membrane protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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