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Interactions between membrane proteins and lipids are often crucial for structure and function yet difficult to define because of their dynamic and heterogeneous nature. Here, we use mass spectrometry to demonstrate that membrane protein oligomers ejected from nanodiscs in the gas phase retain large numbers of lipid interactions. The complex mass spectra that result from gas-phase dissociation were assigned using a Bayesian deconvolution algorithm together with mass defect analysis, allowing us to count individual lipid molecules bound to membrane proteins. Comparison of the lipid distributions measured by mass spectrometry with molecular dynamics simulations reveals that the distributions correspond to distinct lipid shells that vary according to the type of protein-lipid interactions. Our results demonstrate that nanodiscs offer the potential for native mass spectrometry to probe interactions between membrane proteins and the wider lipid environment.

Original publication




Journal article


Angew Chem Int Ed Engl

Publication Date





550 - 554


lipid annulus, mass spectrometry, membrane proteins, nanodiscs, protein-lipid interactions, Gases, Lipids, Mass Spectrometry, Membrane Proteins, Nanostructures