Bioanalytical Research Group

Membrane Reconstitution

Membrane proteins are commonly purified by solubilising them with detergents. For structural analysis they are usually reconstituted into a lipid membrane. This can be done by extracting the detergent molecules using SM-2 Biobeads in a solution that contains lipids. 

Membrane lipids have the tendency to self-assemble into bi-layers. However, the formation of large, flat membranes is thermodynamically not favoured in a bulk solution. Instead, stacks of several layers or tubes emerge [2]. 

2. De Zorzi, R., Nicholson, W. V., Guigner, J.-M., Erne-Brand, F. & Vénien-Bryan, C. Growth of large and highly ordered 2D crystals of a K⁺ channel, structural role of lipidic environment. Biophys J 105, 398–408 (2013).