Introduction to the Structural Biology of Membrane Proteins
Published:30 Nov 2016
The tremendous progress in the structural biology of membrane proteins, built on a vast accumulation of experimental data and fueled by an exponential increase in the number of high resolution structures, provides a base for advances using cutting-edge biophysical and computational tools. Membrane proteins must be considered in the context of their lipid environment, which provides fluidity, lateral heterogeneity (allowing specialized microdomains), as well as variations normal to the bilayer. The low dielectric of the membrane interior drives the need for hydrogen-bonded secondary structures in transmembrane segments, resulting in two structural classes of integral membrane proteins: bundles of α-helices and β-barrels. Membrane proteins function as channels, transporters, enzymes, and receptors, and salient features of each are presented.