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Nanodiscs (discoidal lipid bilayer particles)

This artificial lipid membrane system is biochemically stable, well defined and homogeneous. One can use it in solution as well as for immobilization of membrane proteins on a surface. Nanodiscs are currently used to incorporate membrane protein during cell-free expression.


Scheme of nanodiscs in solution

  • Nanodiscs are discoidal lipid bilayer (blue in the upper schemes) wrapped by two membrane scaffold proteins (MSP, green in upper schemes) in a belt-like configuration parallel to the disc-plane to shield the hydrophobic part of the phospholipids from the aqueous environment

  • Preparation by self-assembling process during detergent removal from a phospholipid-MSP-detergent aqueous suspension

  • Advantages: good biochemical stability, accessibility from both sides of the bilayer plane, monodispers distributed population even at high concentration

  • Fusion of a tag to MSP allows immobilization to a functionalized surface (see scheme below: immobilized nanodisc via His-tag to Ni-NTA self-assembled monolayer (SAM))
  • Variation of the MSP allows access to different nanodisc diameter: derivatives from human amphiphilic α-helical protein (Apo-A1) used in the institute are listed in the table below

membrane scaffold protein

resulting nanodisc diameter [nm]

MSP1~ 9.7
MSP1D1~ 9.7
MSP1D1E3~ 12.1
MSP2N2~ 17


Nanodisc tethered to a solid support via His-Tag-Ni-NTA binding

Contact: Dr. Iris v. d. Hocht