A Guide to Differential Scanning Calorimetry of Membrane and Soluble Proteins in Detergents

Academic Article


  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) detects protein thermal unfolding by directly measuring the heat absorbed. Simple DSC experiments that require relatively small amounts of pure material can provide a wealth of information related to structure, especially with respect to domain architecture, without the need for a complete thermodynamic analysis. Thus, DSC is an ideal additional tool for membrane protein characterization and also offers several advantages over indirect thermal unfolding methods. Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) that comprise both large multitopic transmembrane domains (TMDs) and extramembranous domains (EMDs) are differentially affected by detergent interactions with both domains. In fact, in some cases, destabilization of the EMD by detergent may dominate overall IMP stability. This chapter will (1) provide a perspective on the advantages of DSC for membrane protein characterization and stability measurements, including numerous examples spanning decades of research; (2) introduce models for the interaction and destabilization of IMPs by detergents; (3) discuss two case studies from the authors' lab; and (4) offer practical advice for performing DSC in the presence of detergents.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yang Z; Brouillette CG
  • Start Page

  • 319
  • End Page

  • 358
  • Volume

  • 567