Recent advances in nanodisc technology for membrane protein studies (2012–2017)

John E. Rouck, John E. Krapf, Jahnabi Roy, Hannah C. Huff, Aditi Das

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Historically, the main barrier to membrane protein investigations has been the tendency of membrane proteins to aggregate (due to their hydrophobic nature), in aqueous solution as well as on surfaces. The introduction of biomembrane mimetics has since stimulated momentum in the field. One such mimetic, the nanodisc (ND) system, has proved to be an exceptional system for solubilizing membrane proteins. Herein, we critically evaluate the advantages and imperfections of employing nanodiscs in biophysical and biochemical studies. Specifically, we examine the techniques that have been modified to study membrane proteins in nanodiscs. Techniques discussed here include fluorescence microscopy, solution-state/solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance, electron microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, and several mass spectroscopy methods. Newer techniques such as SPR, charge-sensitive optical detection, and scintillation proximity assays are also reviewed. Lastly, we cover how nanodiscs are advancing nanotechnology through nanoplasmonic biosensing, lipoprotein-nanoplatelets, and sortase-mediated labeling of nanodiscs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2057-2088
Number of pages32
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • ESI
  • FRET
  • NMR
  • SPR
  • electron microscopy
  • isotope labeling
  • lipid bilayer
  • membrane protein
  • nanodisc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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