Dr Steve Harborne is looking forward to attending the International SMALP Conference on Friday 20th March.  Originally sequenced to take place at the Alumni Hall, Columbia University in New York. The University has recently cancelled all events on campus because of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.  The event will now take place at the New York Academy of Sciences.  Peak Proteins is among the companies sponsoring the event.

The SMALP (Styrene Maleic Acid Lipid Particle) technology is being developed by the international research community as an alternative to membrane protein solubilisation in conventional detergents which may dissociate, destabilise and deactivate them.

A variety of amphipathic polymers such as styrene maleic anhydride have been shown to directly and spontaneously solubilise proteins and bound lipids from membranes.  This technology is relatively new.  SMALP meetings are an opportunity to share new ideas and best practices amongst researchers to ensure the rapid development of this field.

“Membrane proteins are an incredibly important group of proteins.  Researchers estimate that 35% all marketed drugs act by binding to GPCRs, the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes.  For us at Peak Proteins finding more effective and efficient commercial methods for producing membrane proteins that can be purified and used as reagents is of significant interest”, comment Steve.

Steve added, “We are carrying out research currently, using the commercially available SMALP products and look forward to presenting a poster at the European SMALP Meeting in Birmingham in April”.

This meeting, which attracts delegates from both academia and industry, will include discussions about the latest advances in native nanodiscs, membrane proteins, polymer chemistry, lipid biophysics structural biology with applications in energy sectors as well as drug discovery.