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Journal of Nanobiotechnology

, 8:28

First Online: 01 December 2010Received: 12 October 2010Accepted: 01 December 2010


High-density lipoprotein HDL plays a fundamental role in the Reverse Cholesterol Transport pathway. Prior to maturation, nascent HDL exist as disk-shaped phospholipid bilayers whose perimeter is stabilized by amphipathic apolipoproteins. Methods have been developed to generate reconstituted rHDL in vitro and these particles have been used in a variety of novel ways. To differentiate between physiological HDL particles and non-natural rHDL that have been engineered to possess additional components-functions, the term nanodisk ND is used. In this review, various applications of ND technology are described, such as their use as miniature membranes for solubilization and characterization of integral membrane proteins in a native like conformation. In other work, ND harboring hydrophobic biomolecules-drugs have been generated and used as transport-delivery vehicles. In vitro and in vivo studies show that drug loaded ND are stable and possess potent biological activity. A third application of ND is their use as a platform for incorporation of amphiphilic chelators of contrast agents, such as gadolinium, used in magnetic resonance imaging. Thus, it is demonstrated that the basic building block of plasma HDL can be repurposed for alternate functions.

AbbreviationsHDLhigh density lipoprotein

rHDLreconstituted HDL

RCTreverse cholesterol transport



AFMatomic force microscopy

ATRAall trans retinoic acid

AMBamphotericin B.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1477-3155-8-28 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Robert O Ryan


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