Amphipols from A to Z

Annu Rev Biophys. 2011;40:379-408. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-042910-155219.

Abstract

Amphipols (APols) are short amphipathic polymers that can substitute for detergents to keep integral membrane proteins (MPs) water soluble. In this review, we discuss their structure and solution behavior; the way they associate with MPs; and the structure, dynamics, and solution properties of the resulting complexes. All MPs tested to date form water-soluble complexes with APols, and their biochemical stability is in general greatly improved compared with MPs in detergent solutions. The functionality and ligand-binding properties of APol-trapped MPs are reviewed, and the mechanisms by which APols stabilize MPs are discussed. Applications of APols include MP folding and cell-free synthesis, structural studies by NMR, electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction, APol-mediated immobilization of MPs onto solid supports, proteomics, delivery of MPs to preexisting membranes, and vaccine formulation.

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Computer Simulation
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Protein Binding

Substances

  • Membrane Proteins
  • Polymers