Once removed from their natural environment, membrane proteins depend on membrane-mimetic systems to retain their native structures and functions. To this end, lipid-bilayer nanodiscs that are bounded by scaffold proteins or amphiphilic polymers such as styrene/maleic acid (SMA) copolymers have been introduced as alternatives to detergent micelles and liposomes for in vitro membrane-protein research. Herein, we show that an alternating diisobutylene/maleic acid (DIBMA) copolymer shows equal performance to SMA in solubilizing phospholipids, stabilizes an integral membrane enzyme in functional bilayer nanodiscs, and extracts proteins of various sizes directly from cellular membranes. Unlike aromatic SMA, aliphatic DIBMA has only a mild effect on lipid acyl-chain order, does not interfere with optical spectroscopy in the far-UV range, and does not precipitate in the presence of low millimolar concentrations of divalent cations.
Keywords: amphiphilic polymers; biomembranes; membrane mimetics; membrane proteins; protein chromatography.
© 2017 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.