Unshackling Membrane Protein Research : New Amphiphilic Copolymers for Extraction of Stable, Active Membrane Proteins


  • Prof Timothy Dafforn

    University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • Prof Bert Klumperman

    Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Project summary

Membrane proteins (MPs) form about 70% of all drug targets, but they are very difficult to isolate in their intact, stable and fully functional form. Since about a decade, three commercially available polymers have been used to transform cell membranes into nanodiscs and it was discovered that these nanodiscs offer interesting possibilities for the isolation of MPs. Although the three commercial polymers work reasonably well, they were never developed specifically for this application and there are several shortcomings that still need to be overcome. In this project, we aim to develop the next generation of amphiphilic copolymers, dedicated for the isolation of MPs. In collaboration with several scientists from the MP field we will enhance the efficiency of the amphiphilic copolymers and also introduce additional functionality that is needed to expand the utilisation of the isolated MPs in the field of drug discovery and beyond.