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Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is vital for maintaining the outer membrane barrier in Gram-negative bacteria. LPS is also frequently obtained in complex with the inner membrane proteins after detergent purification. The question of whether or not LPS binding to inner membrane proteins not involved in outer membrane biogenesis reflects native lipid environments remains unclear. Here, we leverage the control of the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance and packing parameter concepts to chemically tune detergents that can be used to qualitatively differentiate the degree to which proteins copurify with phospholipids (PLs) and/or LPS. Given the scalable properties of these detergents, we demonstrate a detergent fine-tuning that enables the facile investigation of intact proteins and their complexes with lipids by native mass spectrometry (nMS). We conclude that LPS, a lipid that is believed to be important for outer membranes, can also affect the activity of membrane proteins that are currently not assigned to be involved in outer membrane biogenesis. Our results deliver a scalable detergent chemistry for a streamlined biophysical characterization of protein-lipid interactions, provide a rationale for the high affinity of LPS-protein binding, and identify noncanonical associations between LPS and inner membrane proteins with relevance for membrane biology and antibiotic research.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Chem Soc

Publication Date