Combinatorial synthesis enables scalable designer detergents for membrane protein studies†
Non-ionic detergents with tailor-made properties are indispensable tools for today's world applications, such as cleaning, disinfection, and drug discovery. To facilitate their challenging production, herein we introduce a new detergent class, namely scalable hybrid detergents. We report a combinatorial synthesis strategy that allows us to fuse head groups of different detergents into hybrid detergents with unbeatable ease. Importantly, combinatorial synthesis also enables the choice between (i) high-throughput preparation of detergents for small scale applications and (ii) large scale preparation of individual detergents. This combinatorial synthesis strategy enables an unprecedented fine tuning of detergent properties, such as overall polarity and shape, which are determining factors in applications, such as membrane protein research. Our data show that membrane protein purification parameters, such as protein yields and activity, can be linked to overall polarity and shape. Conveniently, both parameters can be theoretically described by means of the hydrophilic–lipophilic balance (HLB) and packing parameter concepts. Both concepts are principally applicable to all non-ionic detergent classes, which facilitates the identification of widely applicable design guidelines for the predictable optimization of non-ionic detergents. Our findings permit access to a yet unexplored chemical space of the detergentome, therefore creating new possibilities for structure–property relationship studies. Seen from a broader perspective, combinatorial synthesis will facilitate the preparation of designer detergents with tailor-made properties for future applications in today's world.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2022 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection