Invisible detergents for structure determination of membrane proteins by small-angle neutron scattering

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A novel and generally applicable method for determining structures of membrane proteins in solution via small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) is presented. Common detergents for solubilizing membrane proteins were synthesized in isotope-substituted versions for utilizing the intrinsic neutron scattering length difference between hydrogen and deuterium. Individual hydrogen/deuterium levels of the detergent head and tail groups were achieved such that the formed micelles became effectively invisible in heavy water (D2 O) when investigated by neutrons. This way, only the signal from the membrane protein remained in the SANS data. We demonstrate that the method is not only generally applicable on five very different membrane proteins but also reveals subtle structural details about the sarco/endoplasmatic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA). In all, the synthesis of isotope-substituted detergents makes solution structure determination of membrane proteins by SANS and subsequent data analysis available to non-specialists. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


  • Søren Roi Midtgaard
  • Tamim A Darwish
  • Martin Cramer Pedersen
  • Pie Huda
  • Andreas Haahr Larsen
  • Grethe Vestergaard Jensen
  • Søren Andreas Røssel Kynde
  • Nicholas Skar-Gislinge
  • Agnieszka Janina Zygadlo Nielsen
  • Claus Olesen
  • Mickael Blaise
  • Jerzy Józef Dorosz
  • Thor Seneca Thorsen
  • Raminta Venskutonytė
  • Jesper V Møller
  • Henrich Frielinghaus
  • Elliot Paul Gilbert
  • Anne Martel
  • Jette Sandholm Kastrup
  • Poul Erik Jensen
  • Poul Nissen
  • Lise Arleth
Externa organisationer
  • University of Copenhagen
TidskriftThe FEBS Journal
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2017 nov 27
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa