The structure determination of membrane proteins remains a big challenge due to the intrinsic difficulty in expressing, purifying and crystallization of membrane protein targets. Crystallization trials for membrane proteins are tedious and conventional methods usually require extensive detergent screening to identify an optimal condition that is not just able to dissolve and stabilize membrane proteins, but also compatible with crystallization media.
Creative Biostructure has been actively developing and optimizing crystallization methods for membrane proteins. One great strategy to tackle difficulties in membrane protein crystallization is our bicelle-protein crystallization technique. Bicelles are small bilayer disks formed in lipid/amphiphile mixtures, into which membrane proteins can be incorporated. At low temperature, bicelle-forming lipid/amphiphile mixtures are not viscous, but they tend to develop a gel-like consistency at higher temperatures. Thus, with bicelle forming lipid/amphiphile mixtures it is possible to access a variety of lipid bilayer structures simply by varying temperature.