Spontaneous interaction of purified apolipoproteins and phospholipids results in formation of lipoprotein particles with nanometer-sized dimensions; we refer to these assemblies as nanolipoprotein particles or NLPs. These bilayer constructs can serve as suitable mimetics of biological membranes and are fully soluble in aqueous environments. We made NLPs from dimyristoylphospatidylcholine (DMPC) in combination with each of four different apolipoproteins: apoA-I, Δ-apoA-I fragment, apoE4 fragment, and apolipophorin III (apoLp-III) from the silk moth B. mori. Predominately discoidal in shape, these particles have diameters between 10 and 20 nm, share uniform heights between 4.5 and 5 nm, and can be produced in yields ranging between 40 and 60%. The particular lipoprotein, the lipid to lipoprotein ratio, and the assembly parameters determine the size and homogeneity of nanolipoprotein particles and indicate that apoA-I NLP preparations are smaller than the larger apoE422K and apoLp-III NLP preparations.
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