Defining thermostability of membrane proteins by western blotting

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Membrane proteins are relatively challenging targets for structural and other biophysical studies. Insufficient expression in various expression systems, inherent flexibility, and instability in the detergents that are required for membrane extraction are the main reasons for this limited success. Therefore, identification of suitable conditions and membrane protein variants that can help stabilize functional protein for extended periods of time is critical for structural studies. Here, we describe a western blot-based assay that simplifies identification of thermostabilizing conditions for membrane proteins. We show successful testing of a variety of parameters such as additive lipids, ligands and detergents.

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