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Integral membrane proteins pose considerable challenges to mass spectrometry (MS) owing to the complexity and diversity of the components in their native environment. Here, we use native MS to study the post-translational maturation of bacteriorhodopsin (bR) and archaerhodopsin-3 (AR3), using both octyl-glucoside detergent micelles and lipid-based nanoparticles. A lower collision energy was required to obtain well-resolved spectra for proteins in styrene-maleic acid copolymer (SMA) Lipodisqs than in membrane scaffold protein (MSP) Nanodiscs. By comparing spectra of membrane proteins prepared using the different membrane mimetics, we found that SMA may favor selective solubilization of correctly folded proteins and better preserve native lipid interactions than other membrane mimetics. Our spectra reveal the correlation between the post-translation modifications (PTMs), lipid-interactions, and protein-folding states of bR, providing insights into the process of maturation of the photoreceptor proteins.

Original publication




Journal article


Nano Lett

Publication Date



Lipodisq, Native mass spectrometry, SMALP, bacteriorhodopsin, lipid−protein interactions, post-translational modification