Structures and Dynamics of Native-State Transmembrane Protein Targets and Bound Lipids.
ABSTRACT: Membrane proteins work within asymmetric bilayers of lipid molecules that are critical for their biological structures, dynamics and interactions. These properties are lost when detergents dislodge lipids, ligands and subunits, but are maintained in native nanodiscs formed using styrene maleic acid (SMA) and diisobutylene maleic acid (DIBMA) copolymers. These amphipathic polymers allow extraction of multicomponent complexes of post-translationally modified membrane-bound proteins directly from organ homogenates or membranes from diverse types of cells and organelles. Here, we review the structures and mechanisms of transmembrane targets and their interactions with lipids including phosphoinositides (PIs), as resolved using nanodisc systems and methods including cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). We focus on therapeutic targets including several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), as well as ion channels and transporters that are driving the development of next-generation native nanodiscs. The design of new synthetic polymers and complementary biophysical tools bodes well for the future of drug discovery and structural biology of native membrane:protein assemblies (memteins).
Project description:Once removed from their natural environment, membrane proteins depend on membrane-mimetic systems to retain their native structures and functions. To this end, lipid-bilayer nanodiscs that are bounded by scaffold proteins or amphiphilic polymers such as styrene/maleic acid (SMA) copolymers have been introduced as alternatives to detergent micelles and liposomes for in?vitro membrane-protein research. Herein, we show that an alternating diisobutylene/maleic acid (DIBMA) copolymer shows equal performance to SMA in solubilizing phospholipids, stabilizes an integral membrane enzyme in functional bilayer nanodiscs, and extracts proteins of various sizes directly from cellular membranes. Unlike aromatic SMA, aliphatic DIBMA has only a mild effect on lipid acyl-chain order, does not interfere with optical spectroscopy in the far-UV range, and does not precipitate in the presence of low millimolar concentrations of divalent cations.
Project description:Styrene/maleic acid copolymers (SMA) have recently attracted great interest for in vitro studies of membrane proteins, as they self-insert into and fragment biological membranes to form polymer-bounded nanodiscs that provide a native-like lipid-bilayer environment. SMA copolymers are available in different styrene/maleic acid ratios and chain lengths and, thus, possess different charge densities, hydrophobicities, and solubilisation properties. Here, we studied the equilibrium solubilisation properties of the most commonly used copolymer, SMA(2:1), by monitoring the formation of nanodiscs from phospholipid vesicles using <sup>31</sup>P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, and differential scanning calorimetry. Comparison of SMA(2:1) phase diagrams with those of SMA(3:1) and diisobutylene/maleic acid (DIBMA) revealed that, on a mass concentration scale, SMA(2:1) is the most efficient membrane solubiliser, despite its relatively mild effects on the thermotropic phase behaviour of solubilised lipids. In contrast with previous kinetic studies, our equilibrium experiments demonstrate that the solubilisation of phospholipid bilayers by SMA(2:1) is most efficient at moderately alkaline pH values. This pH dependence was also observed for the solubilisation of native Escherichia coli membranes, for which SMA(2:1) again turned out to be the most powerful solubiliser in terms of the total amounts of membrane proteins extracted.
Project description:Membrane proteins are of fundamental importance to cellular processes and nano-encapsulation strategies that preserve their native lipid bilayer environment are particularly attractive for studying and exploiting these proteins. Poly(styrene-co-maleic acid) (SMA) and related polymers poly(styrene-co-(N-(3-N',N'-dimethylaminopropyl)maleimide)) (SMI) and poly(diisobutylene-alt-maleic acid) (DIBMA) have revolutionised the study of membrane proteins by spontaneously solubilising membrane proteins direct from cell membranes within nanoscale discs of native bilayer called SMA lipid particles (SMALPs), SMILPs and DIBMALPs respectively. This systematic study shows for the first time, that conformational changes of the encapsulated protein are dictated by the solubilising polymer. The photoactivation pathway of rhodopsin (Rho), a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), comprises structurally-defined intermediates with characteristic absorbance spectra that revealed conformational restrictions with styrene-containing SMA and SMI, so that photoactivation proceeded only as far as metarhodopsin-I, absorbing at 478 nm, in a SMALP or SMILP. In contrast, full attainment of metarhodopsin-II, absorbing at 382 nm, was observed in a DIBMALP. Consequently, different intermediate states of Rho could be generated readily by simply employing different SMA-like polymers. Dynamic light-scattering and analytical ultracentrifugation revealed differences in size and thermostability between SMALP, SMILP and DIBMALP. Moreover, encapsulated Rho exhibited different stability in a SMALP, SMILP or DIBMALP. Overall, we establish that SMA, SMI and DIBMA constitute a 'toolkit' of solubilising polymers, so that selection of the appropriate solubilising polymer provides a spectrum of useful attributes for studying membrane proteins.
Project description:Structure and function analysis of human membrane proteins in lipid bilayer environments is acutely lacking despite the fundame1ntal cellular importance of these proteins and their dominance of drug targets. An underlying reason is that detailed study usually requires a potentially destabilising detergent purification of the proteins from their host membranes prior to subsequent reconstitution in a membrane mimic; a situation that is exacerbated for human membrane proteins due to the inherent difficulties in overexpressing suitable quantities of the proteins. We advance the promising styrene maleic acid polymer (SMA) extraction approach to introduce a detergent-free method of obtaining stable, functional human membrane transporters in bilayer nanodiscs directly from yeast cells. We purify the human serotonin transporter (hSERT) following overexpression in Pichia pastoris using diisobutylene maleic acid (DIBMA) as a superior method to traditional detergents or the more established styrene maleic acid polymer. hSERT plays a pivotal role in neurotransmitter regulation being responsible for the transport of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT or serotonin). It is representative of the neurotransmitter sodium symporter (NSS) family, whose importance is underscored by the numerous diseases attributed to their malfunction. We gain insight into hSERT activity through an in vitro transport assay and find that DIBMA extraction improves the thermostability and activity of hSERT over the conventional detergent method.
Project description:Summary The β2-adrenoceptor (β2AR) is a well-established target in asthma and a prototypical G protein-coupled receptor for biophysical studies. Solubilization of membrane proteins has classically involved the use of detergents. However, the detergent environment differs from the native membrane environment and often destabilizes membrane proteins. Use of amphiphilic copolymers is a promising strategy to solubilize membrane proteins within their native lipid environment in the complete absence of detergents. Here we show the isolation of the β2AR in the polymer diisobutylene maleic acid (DIBMA). We demonstrate that β2AR remains functional in the DIBMA lipid particle and shows improved thermal stability compared with the n-dodecyl-β-D-maltopyranoside detergent-solubilized β2AR. This unique method of extracting β2AR offers significant advantages over previous methods routinely employed such as the introduction of thermostabilizing mutations and the use of detergents, particularly for functional biophysical studies. Graphical abstract Highlights • DIBMA can be used to extract the human β2AR from mammalian cells• DIBMALP-β2AR retains ligand binding ability and shows improved stability• TR-FRET-based ligand binding methods avoid purification for DIBMALP-β2AR characterization Biophysical chemistry; Membranes; Protein
Project description:The field of membrane protein structural biology has been revolutionized over the last few years with a number of high profile structures being solved using cryo-EM including Piezo, Ryanodine receptor, TRPV1 and the Glutamate receptor. Further developments in the EM field hold the promise of even greater progress in terms of greater resolution, which for membrane proteins is still typically within the 4-7Å range. One advantage of a cryo-EM approach is the ability to study membrane proteins in more "native" like environments for example proteoliposomes, amphipols and nanodiscs. Recently, styrene maleic acid co-polymers (SMA) have been used to extract membrane proteins surrounded by native lipids (SMALPs) maintaining a more natural environment. We report here the structure of the Escherichia coli multidrug efflux transporter AcrB in a SMALP scaffold to sub-nm resolution, with the resulting map being consistent with high resolution crystal structures and other EM derived maps. However, both the C-terminal helix (TM12) and TM7 are poorly defined in the map. These helices are at the exterior of the helical bundle and form the greater interaction with the native lipids and SMA polymer and may represent a more dynamic region of the protein. This work shows the promise of using an SMA approach for single particle cryo-EM studies to provide sub-nm structures.
Project description:Co-translational folding studies of membrane proteins lag behind cytosolic protein investigations largely due to the technical difficulty in maintaining membrane lipid environments for correct protein folding. Stalled ribosome-bound nascent chain complexes (RNCs) can give snapshots of a nascent protein chain as it emerges from the ribosome during biosynthesis. Here, we demonstrate how SecM-facilitated nascent chain stalling and native nanodisc technologies can be exploited to capture in vivo-generated membrane protein RNCs within their native lipid compositions. We reveal that a polytopic membrane protein can be successfully stalled at various stages during its synthesis and the resulting RNC extracted within either detergent micelles or diisobutylene-maleic acid co-polymer native nanodiscs. Our approaches offer tractable solutions for the structural and biophysical interrogation of nascent membrane proteins of specified lengths, as the elongating nascent chain emerges from the ribosome and inserts into its native lipid milieu.
Project description:The mechanosensitive channel of small conductance (MscS) is the prototype of an evolutionarily diversified large family that fine-tunes osmoregulation but is likely to fulfill additional functions. <i>Escherichia coli</i> has six osmoprotective paralogs with different numbers of transmembrane helices. These helices are important for gating and sensing in MscS but the role of the additional helices in the paralogs is not understood. The medium-sized channel YnaI was extracted and delivered in native nanodiscs in closed-like and open-like conformations using the copolymer diisobutylene/maleic acid (DIBMA) for structural studies. Here we show by electron cryomicroscopy that YnaI has an extended sensor paddle that during gating relocates relative to the pore concomitant with bending of a GGxGG motif in the pore helices. YnaI is the only one of the six paralogs that has this GGxGG motif allowing the sensor paddle to move outward. Access to the pore is through a vestibule on the cytosolic side that is fenestrated by side portals. In YnaI, these portals are obstructed by aromatic side chains but are still fully hydrated and thus support conductance. For comparison with large-sized channels, we determined the structure of YbiO, which showed larger portals and a wider pore with no GGxGG motif. Further in silico comparison of MscS, YnaI, and YbiO highlighted differences in the hydrophobicity and wettability of their pores and vestibule interiors. Thus, MscS-like channels of different sizes have a common core architecture but show different gating mechanisms and fine-tuned conductive properties.
Project description:Membrane proteins can be examined in near-native lipid-bilayer environments with the advent of polymer-encapsulated nanodiscs. These nanodiscs self-assemble directly from cellular membranes, allowing in vitro probing of membrane proteins with techniques that had previously been restricted to soluble or detergent-solubilized proteins. Nonetheless, the high charge densities of existing polymers obstruct bioanalytical and preparative techniques through unspecific interactions. Here we describe a simple strategy for producing water-soluble, electroneutral polymer nanodiscs. Through attachment of a sulfobetaine group, the commercial polymers DIBMA and SMA can be easily converted into the charge-neutral maleimide derivatives, sulf DIBMA and sulf SMA, which readily extract proteins and phospholipids from artificial and cellular membranes to form nanodiscs. Crucially, the electroneutrality of the new nanodiscs averts unspecific interactions, thereby enabling reliable lab-on-a-chip detection of protein/lipid interactions and in vitro translation of membrane proteins. Finally, we create a library containing thousands of human membrane proteins and use proteome profiling by mass spectrometry to show the preservation of protein complexes in electroneutral nanodiscs.
Project description:A major obstacle in the study of membrane proteins is their solubilization in a stable and active conformation when using detergents. Here, we explored a detergent-free approach to isolating the tetrameric potassium channel KcsA directly from the membrane of Escherichia coli, using a styrene-maleic acid copolymer. This polymer self-inserts into membranes and is capable of extracting membrane patches in the form of nanosize discoidal proteolipid particles or "native nanodiscs." Using circular dichroism and tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy, we show that the conformation of KcsA in native nanodiscs is very similar to that in detergent micelles, but that the thermal stability of the protein is higher in the nanodiscs. Furthermore, as a promising new application, we show that quantitative analysis of the co-isolated lipids in purified KcsA-containing nanodiscs allows determination of preferential lipid-protein interactions. Thin-layer chromatography experiments revealed an enrichment of the anionic lipids cardiolipin and phosphatidylglycerol, indicating their close proximity to the channel in biological membranes and supporting their functional relevance. Finally, we demonstrate that KcsA can be reconstituted into planar lipid bilayers directly from native nanodiscs, which enables functional characterization of the channel by electrophysiology without first depriving the protein of its native environment. Together, these findings highlight the potential of the use of native nanodiscs as a tool in the study of ion channels, and of membrane proteins in general.