The Formation of Reverse Mixed Micelles Consisting of Membrane Proteins and AOT in Isooctane

  • J. Wirz
  • J. P. Rosenbusch
Part of the Forschung Soziologie book series


Membrane proteins are amphipathic molecules with hydrophobic and hydrophilic surface areas. In vivo, they are integrated into membranes with their hydrophobic surfaces exposed to the core of lipid bilayers (Figure 1A). The domains protruding on either or both sides of the membrane are in contact with the aqueous phase; they are likely to exhibit polar character. Due to their hydrophobicity, integral membrane proteins are insoluble in aqueous media and aggregate to form precipitates. They can be solubilized in water by detergents with which they form complexes with overall polar properties (Figure 1B), whereby solubilization is defined as dissociation into monodisperse, solvated units. In principle, it should be possible to achieve this also in nonpolar solvents (such as isooctane) with detergents known to form reverse micelles. Aerosol OT (AOT) has been used extensively, and its reverse micelles have been characterized1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Wirz
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. P. Rosenbusch
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biozentrum der Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.European Molecular Biology LaboratoryHeidelbergGermany

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