Artificial membranes for membrane protein purification, functionality and structure studies

Biochem Soc Trans. 2016 Jun 15;44(3):877-82. doi: 10.1042/BST20160054.


Membrane proteins represent one of the most important targets for pharmaceutical companies. Unfortunately, technical limitations have long been a major hindrance in our understanding of the function and structure of such proteins. Recent years have seen the refinement of classical approaches and the emergence of new technologies that have resulted in a significant step forward in the field of membrane protein research. This review summarizes some of the current techniques used for studying membrane proteins, with overall advantages and drawbacks for each method.

Keywords: bicelle; black lipid membrane (BLM); lipidic cubic phase (LCP); lipodisq; membrane proteins; nanodiscs; styrene maleic acid lipid particle system (SMALPs); supported lipid bilayer (SLB).

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Eukaryota / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Methods*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membranes, Artificial