Improving the stability and function of purified ABCB1 and ABCA4: the influence of membrane lipids.

Naomi L Pollock, Christopher A McDevitt, Richard Collins, Petronella H M Niesten, Stephen Prince, Ian D Kerr, Robert C Ford, Richard Callaghan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters play prominent roles in numerous cellular processes and many have been implicated in human diseases. Unfortunately, detailed mechanistic information on the majority of ABC transporters has not yet been elucidated. The slow rate of progress of molecular and high resolution structural studies may be attributed to the difficulty in the investigation of integral membrane proteins. These difficulties include the expression of functional, non-aggregated protein in heterologous systems. Furthermore, the extraction of membrane proteins from source material remains a major bottle-neck in the process since there are relatively few guidelines for selection of an appropriate detergent to achieve optimal extraction. Whilst affinity tag strategies have simplified the purification of membrane proteins; many challenges remain. For example, the chromatographic process and associated steps can rapidly lead to functional inactivation, random aggregation, or even precipitation of the target protein. Furthermore, optimisation of high yield and purity, does not guarantee successful structure determination. Based on this series of potential issues, any investigation into structure-function of membrane proteins requires a systematic evaluation of preparation quality. In particular, the evaluation should focus on function, homogeneity and mono-dispersity. The present investigation provides a detailed assessment of the quality of purified ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) transporters; namely ABCB1 (P-gp) and ABCA4 (ABCR). A number of suggestions are provided to facilitate the production of functional, homogeneous and mono-disperse preparations using the insect cell expression system. Finally, the ABCA4 samples have been used to provide structural insights into this essential photo-receptor cell protein.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
    Issue number1 Pt B
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • ABCA4
    • ATP Binding Cassette transporter
    • Lipid–protein interaction
    • Membrane protein structure
    • Membrane transport
    • P-glycoprotein


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