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In Biochimica et biophysica acta. Biomembranes

Membrane proteins exist in lipid bilayers and mediate solute transport, signal transduction, cell-cell communication and energy conversion. Their activities are fundamental for life, which make them prominent subjects of study, but access to only a limited number of high-resolution structures complicates their mechanistic understanding. The absence of such structures relates mainly to difficulties in expressing and purifying high quality membrane protein samples in large quantities. An additional layer of complexity stems from the presence of intra- and/or extra-cellular domains constituted by unstructured intrinsically disordered regions (IDR), which can be hundreds of residues long. Although IDRs form key interaction hubs that facilitate biological processes, these are regularly removed to enable structural studies. To advance mechanistic insight into intact intrinsically disordered membrane proteins, we have developed a protocol for their purification. Using engineered yeast cells for optimized expression and purification, we have purified to homogeneity two very different human membrane proteins each with >300 residues long IDRs; the sodium proton exchanger 1 and the growth hormone receptor. Subsequent to their purification we have further explored their incorporation into membrane scaffolding protein nanodiscs, which will enable future structural studies.

Kassem Noah, Kassem Maher M, Pedersen Stine F, Pedersen Per Amstrup, Kragelund Birthe B


Disordered domains, GFP, GHR, Growth hormone receptor, IDP, NHE1, Nanodiscs, S. cerevisiae, Sodium-proton exchanger