Over the past three decades, the Torpedo californica nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) has been one of the most extensively studied membrane protein systems. However, the effects of detergent solubilization on nAChR stability and function are poorly understood. The use of lipid-analog detergents for nAChR solubilization has been shown to preserve receptor stability and functionality. The present study used lipid-analog detergents from phospholipid-analog and cholesterol-analog detergent families for solubilization and affinity purification of the receptor and probed nAChR ion channel function using planar lipid bilayers (PLBs) and stability using analytical size exclusion chromatography (A-SEC) in the detergent-solubilized state. We also examined receptor mobility on the lipidic cubic phase (LCP) by measuring the nAChR mobile fraction and diffusion coefficient through fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) experiments using lipid-analog and non-lipid-analog detergents. Our results show that it is possible to isolate stable and functional nAChRs using lipid-analog detergents, with characteristic ion channel currents in PLBs and minimal aggregation as observed in A-SEC. Furthermore, fractional mobility and diffusion coefficient values observed in FRAP experiments were similar to the values observed for these parameters in the recently LCP-crystallized β2-adrenergic receptor. The overall results show that phospholipid-analog detergents with 16 carbon acyl-chains support nAChR stability, functionality and LCP mobility.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 16, 2011
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