The yin and yang of solubilization and stabilization for wild-type and full-length membrane protein

Methods. 2018 Sep 1;147:118-125. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2018.02.017. Epub 2018 Feb 23.


Membrane proteins (MP) are stable in their native lipid environment. To enable structural and functional investigations, MP need to be extracted from the membrane. This is a critical step that represents the main obstacle for MP biochemistry and structural biology. General guidelines and rules for membrane protein solubilization remain difficult to establish. This review aims to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview of the general concepts of MP solubilization and stabilization as well as recent advances in detergents innovation. Understanding how solubilization and stabilization are intimately linked is key to facilitate MP isolation toward fundamental structural and functional research as well as drug discovery applications. How to manage the tour de force of destabilizing the lipid bilayer and stabilizing MP at the same time is the holy grail of successful isolation and investigation of such a delicate and fascinating class of proteins.

Keywords: Detergent; Membrane proteins; Solubilization; Stabilization; Surfactant.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Detergents / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Protein Stability
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Solubility
  • Yin-Yang*


  • Detergents
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins