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Membrane proteins

About one third of all proteins expressed by an organism are thought to be associated with biological membranes. Many of these have important functions such as transporters, channels, pumps or receptors. Structural information, and thus important knowledge about structure function relationships of membrane proteins, is still limited because of their hydrophobic nature introducing difficulties in working with purified samples.

Electron microscopy provides a method for studying membrane proteins in their natural phospholipid environment, in particular following lateral organisation into 2-D crystals. Provided that the crystals have sufficient size and order it is possible to obtain a resolution which allows building of atomic models. Methodological developments both with regard to data collection and image processing will speed up the relatively extensive process in the future.

For more information about some of our membrane protein projects see: microsomal glutahione transferase, Na,K-ATPase and melibiose permease.


Last Updated: Friday, January 30, 2004
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