Characterization of KCNE1 inside Lipodisq Nanoparticles for EPR Spectroscopic Studies of Membrane Proteins

J Phys Chem B. 2017 Jun 1;121(21):5312-5321. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b01705. Epub 2017 May 23.


EPR spectroscopic studies of membrane proteins in a physiologically relevant native membrane-bound state are extremely challenging due to the complexity observed in inhomogeneity sample preparation and dynamic motion of the spin-label. Traditionally, detergent micelles are the most widely used membrane mimetics for membrane proteins due to their smaller size and homogeneity, providing high-resolution structure analysis by solution NMR spectroscopy. However, it is often difficult to examine whether the protein structure in a micelle environment is the same as that of the respective membrane-bound state. Recently, lipodisq nanoparticles have been introduced as a potentially good membrane mimetic system for structural studies of membrane proteins. However, a detailed characterization of a spin-labeled membrane protein incorporated into lipodisq nanoparticles is still lacking. In this work, lipodisq nanoparticles were used as a membrane mimic system for probing the structural and dynamic properties of the integral membrane protein KCNE1 using site-directed spin labeling EPR spectroscopy. The characterization of spin-labeled KCNE1 incorporated into lipodisq nanoparticles was carried out using CW-EPR titration experiments for the EPR spectral line shape analysis and pulsed EPR titration experiment for the phase memory time (Tm) measurements. The CW-EPR titration experiment indicated an increase in spectral line broadening with the addition of the SMA polymer which approaches close to the rigid limit at a lipid to polymer weight ratio of 1:1, providing a clear solubilization of the protein-lipid complex. Similarly, the Tm titration experiment indicated an increase in Tm values with the addition of SMA polymer and approaches ∼2 μs at a lipid to polymer weight ratio of 1:2. Additionally, CW-EPR spectral line shape analysis was performed on six inside and six outside the membrane spin-label probes of KCNE1 in lipodisq nanoparticles. The results indicated significant differences in EPR spectral line broadening and a corresponding inverse central line width between spin-labeled KCNE1 residues located inside and outside of the membrane for lipodisq nanoparticle samples when compared to lipid vesicle samples. These results are consistent with the solution NMR structure of KCNE1. This study will be beneficial for researchers working on studying the structural and dynamic properties of membrane proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Glycerophospholipids / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Maleates / chemistry
  • Micelles
  • Mutation
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Particle Size
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / chemistry*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / genetics


  • Glycerophospholipids
  • KCNE1 protein, human
  • Maleates
  • Micelles
  • Polystyrenes
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • poly(styrene-co-maleic anhydride)