Melamine-cored glucosides for membrane protein solubilization and stabilization: importance of water-mediated intermolecular hydrogen bonding in detergent performance

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  • Lubna Ghani
  • Seonghoon Kim
  • Muhammad Ehsan
  • Baoliang Lan
  • Ida H. Poulsen
  • Chandra Dev
  • Satoshi Katsube
  • Bernadette Byrne
  • Lan Guan
  • Løland, Claus Juul
  • Xiangyu Liu
  • Wonpil Im
  • Pil Seok Chae

Membrane proteins play essential roles in a number of biological processes, and their structures are important in elucidating such processes at the molecular level and also for rational drug design and development. Membrane protein structure determination is notoriously challenging compared to that of soluble proteins, due largely to the inherent instability of their structures in non-lipid environments. Micelles formed by conventional detergents have been widely used for membrane protein manipulation, but they are suboptimal for long-term stability of membrane proteins, making downstream characterization difficult. Hence, there is an unmet need for the development of new amphipathic agents with enhanced efficacy for membrane protein stabilization. In this study, we designed and synthesized a set of glucoside amphiphiles with a melamine core, denoted melamine-cored glucosides (MGs). When evaluated with four membrane proteins (two transporters and two G protein-coupled receptors), MG-C11 conferred notably enhanced stability compared to the commonly used detergents, DDM and LMNG. These promising findings are mainly attributed to a unique feature of the MGs, i.e., the ability to form dynamic water-mediated hydrogen-bond networks between detergent molecules, as supported by molecular dynamics simulations. Thus, MG-C11 is the first example of a non-peptide amphiphile capable of forming intermolecular hydrogen bonds within a protein-detergent complex environment. Detergent micelles formed via a hydrogen-bond network could represent the next generation of highly effective membrane-mimetic systems useful for membrane protein structural studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13014
JournalChemical Science
Issue number45
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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