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Home > Press > University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Announces Licensing Agreement with Sigma-Aldrich to Provide Membrane Scaffold Proteins for Nanodisc Technology to the Research Community

Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (Nasdaq: SIAL) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have entered into a licensing agreement through which Sigma-Aldrich will offer two widely-used membrane scaffold proteins used in Nanodisc technology, developed by Professor Stephen Sligar, Director of the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Announces Licensing Agreement with Sigma-Aldrich to Provide Membrane Scaffold Proteins for Nanodisc Technology to the Research Community

Urbana, IL | Posted on April 20th, 2012

The Nanodisc technology is enabling life science researchers to elucidate the structure and function of critical membrane proteins in a way not previously possible," said Robert Gates, Market Segment Manager for Sigma-Aldrich. "The diversity of applications and the significance of the advancement each time a new protein is incorporated into a Nanodisc demonstrate the importance of having a universal tool for such a broad scope of fundamental research."

Nanodiscs are self-assembled systems that render soluble in aqueous media typically insoluble yet biologically and pharmacologically significant targets, including receptors, transporters, enzymes, and viral antigens. Nanodisc constructs provide a native-like bilayer environment and maintain a target's functional activity, providing a versatile tool in the study of membrane proteins such as GPCRs, cytochrome P450s, bacteriorhodopsins, coagulation factors, cholera toxins, and Tar receptors. Since their introduction, Nanodiscs have been used in a diverse set of applications such as kinetic studies, structural analysis, imaging measurements, binding assays, and drug discovery. In 2011 alone, more than 25 independent groups published papers based on Nanodisc technology.

Sigma-Aldrich will feature the membrane scaffold proteins MSP1D1 and MSP1E3D1 as part of its innovative Sigma Life Science product portfolio. MSP's utilize the amphipathic properties found in Apolipoprotein A-1 to provide a multi-helical scaffold for incorporation of a range of target protein sizes. More information on these products is available at

"We are proud to partner with Sigma-Aldrich Corporation to provide the membrane scaffold proteins that underpin the broadly applicable Nanodisc system," said Lesley Millar, Director of the Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "We believe this alliance will further extend the impact of Nanodiscs in basic research as well as diagnostic and therapeutic developments."

Professor Sligar is also the I.C. Gunsalus Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and was recently named to the American Chemical Society's list of the fifty most prolific writers in the journal Biochemistry. He has won numerous awards, and is a Fellow of the Biophysical Society and the AAAS.


About University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world-class research institution boasting a respected faculty, high national rankings, and state-of-the art facilities. The University’s accomplishments include 22 Nobel Laureates among its faculty and alumni and such revolutionary innovations as the Web browser, new plant varieties and even the discovery of a third form of life. For more information about the Office of Technology Management at the University, please visit

About Sigma-Aldrich

Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry. The Company operates in 40 countries and has nearly 9,000 employees whose objective is to provide excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to accelerating customer success through innovation and leadership in Life Science and High Technology. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its website at

For more information, please click here

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office of Technology Management
Nicole Nair
Senior Marketing Coordinator

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