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Membrane transporter research in times of countless structures


Seeger, Markus A (2018). Membrane transporter research in times of countless structures. BBA - Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1860(4):804-808.

Abstract

Structural biology has advanced our understanding of membrane proteins like no other scientific discipline in the past two decades and the number of high resolution membrane transporter structures solved by X-ray crystallography has increased exponentially over this time period. Currently, single particle cryo-EM is in full swing due to a recent resolution revolution and permits for structural insights of proteins that were refractory to crystallization. It is foreseeable that multiple structures of many human transporters will be solved in the coming five years. Nevertheless, many scientifically important questions remain unanswered despite of available structures, as is illustrated in this article at the example of multidrug efflux pumps and ABC transporters. Structure-function studies likely continue to be a supporting pillar of membrane transporter research. However, there is a trend towards the "integrated structural biologist", whose research focusses on a biological question and who closely collaborates with other research groups specialized in spectroscopy techniques or molecular dynamics simulation. Future membrane protein research requires joint efforts from specialists of various disciplines to finally work towards a molecular understanding of membrane transport in the context of the living cell. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Beyond the Structure-Function Horizon of Membrane Proteins edited by Ute Hellmich, Rupak Doshi and Benjamin McIlwain.

Abstract

Structural biology has advanced our understanding of membrane proteins like no other scientific discipline in the past two decades and the number of high resolution membrane transporter structures solved by X-ray crystallography has increased exponentially over this time period. Currently, single particle cryo-EM is in full swing due to a recent resolution revolution and permits for structural insights of proteins that were refractory to crystallization. It is foreseeable that multiple structures of many human transporters will be solved in the coming five years. Nevertheless, many scientifically important questions remain unanswered despite of available structures, as is illustrated in this article at the example of multidrug efflux pumps and ABC transporters. Structure-function studies likely continue to be a supporting pillar of membrane transporter research. However, there is a trend towards the "integrated structural biologist", whose research focusses on a biological question and who closely collaborates with other research groups specialized in spectroscopy techniques or molecular dynamics simulation. Future membrane protein research requires joint efforts from specialists of various disciplines to finally work towards a molecular understanding of membrane transport in the context of the living cell. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Beyond the Structure-Function Horizon of Membrane Proteins edited by Ute Hellmich, Rupak Doshi and Benjamin McIlwain.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Microbiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biophysics, Cell Biology, Biochemistry
Language:English
Date:April 2018
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 14:09
Last Modified:19 Aug 2018 14:40
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0006-3002
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbamem.2017.08.009
PubMed ID:28867210
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_144823
  • : Project TitleUnderstanding multidrug efflux at a molecular level

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