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Title: Coupling neutron reflectivity with cell-free protein synthesis to probe membrane protein structure in supported bilayers

Here, the structure of the p7 viroporin, an oligomeric membrane protein ion channel involved in the assembly and release of the hepatitis C virus, was determined from proteins expressed and inserted directly into supported model lipid membranes using cell-free protein expression. Cell-free protein expression allowed (i) high protein concentration in the membrane, (ii) control of the protein’s isotopic constitution, and (iii) control over the lipid environment available to the protein. Here, we used cell-free protein synthesis to directly incorporate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) p7 protein into supported lipid bilayers formed from physiologically relevant lipids (POPC or asolectin) for both direct structural measurements using neutron reflectivity (NR) and conductance measurements using electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). We report that HCV p7 from genotype 1a strain H77 adopts a conical shape within lipid bilayers and forms a viroporin upon oligomerization, confirmed by EIS conductance measurements. This combination of techniques represents a novel approach to the study of membrane proteins and, through the use of selective deuteration of particular amino acids to enhance neutron scattering contrast, has the promise to become a powerful tool for characterizing the protein conformation in physiologically relevant environments and for the development of biosensor applications.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Synthelis SAS, La Tronche (France); Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble (France)
  2. Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble (France)
  3. Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble (France); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; biological physics; biomaterials; membrane structure and assembly
OSTI Identifier: