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DNA-Mediated Stack Formation of Nanodiscs

Subramanian, M.; Kielar, C.; Tsushima, S.; Fahmy, K.; Oertel, J.


Membrane-scaffolding proteins (MSPs) derived from apolipoprotein A-1 have become a versatile tool in generating nano-sized discoidal membrane mimetics (nanodiscs) for membrane protein research. Recent efforts have aimed at exploiting their controlled lipid protein ratio and size distribution to arrange membrane proteins in regular supramolecular structures for diffraction studies. Thereby, direct membrane protein crystallization, which has remained the limiting factor in structure determination of membrane proteins, would be circumvented. We describe here the formation of multimers of membrane-scaffolding protein MSP1D1-bounded nanodiscs using the thiol reactivity of engineered cysteines. The mutated positions N42 and K163 in MSP1D1 were chosen to support chemical modification as evidenced by fluorescent labeling with pyrene. Minimal interference with the nanodisc formation and structure was demonstrated by circular dichroism spectroscopy, differential light scattering and size exclusion chromatography. The direct disulphide bond formation of nanodiscs formed by the MSP1D1_N42C variant led to dimers and trimers with low yield. In contrast, transmission electron microscopy revealed that the attachment of oligonucleotides to the engineered cysteines of MSP1D1 allowed the growth of submicron-sized tracts of stacked nanodiscs through the hybridization of nanodisc populations carrying complementary strands and a flexible spacer.

Keywords: membrane-scaffolding protein; nanodisc; membrane protein; lipid bilayer; lipid protein interaction; multimerization; self-assembly; bionanotechnology

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