Modifying styrene-maleic acid co-polymer for studying lipid nanodiscs

Biochim Biophys Acta Biomembr. 2018 Mar;1860(3):777-783. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.12.012. Epub 2017 Dec 19.


Recently, styrene-maleic acid copolymer lipid nanodiscs have become an increasingly popular tool for the study of membrane proteins. In the work we report here, we have developed a novel method for the efficient preparation of labeled nanodiscs, under chemically mild conditions, by modification of the hydrolyzed styrene-maleic acid copolymer. This protocol is designed to be easily accessible to biochemistry laboratories. We use this procedure to prepare various fluorescent nanodiscs labeled with different fluorophores. By studying the development of Förster resonance energy transfer, we demonstrate the rapid exchange of co-polymer between nanodiscs. This demonstration, in conjunction of previous work, indicates that the lipid nanodiscs prepared using this polymer are very dynamic structures with rapid exchange of the different components.

Keywords: Membrane protein; Nanodisc; SMALP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dynamic Light Scattering
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Liposomes
  • Maleates / chemistry*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Polystyrenes / chemistry*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Liposomes
  • Maleates
  • Polystyrenes
  • styrene-maleic acid polymer