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Membrane protein crystallography in the era of modern structural biology

DOI: 10.1042/BST20200066 DOI Help

Authors: Tristan O. C. Kwan (National Physical Laboratory; Research Complex at Harwell) , Danny Axford (Diamond Light Source) , Isabel Moraes (National Physical Laboratory; Research Complex at Harwell)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Biochemical Society Transactions , VOL 88

State: Published (Approved)
Published: November 2020

Abstract: The aim of structural biology has been always the study of biological macromolecules structures and their mechanistic behaviour at molecular level. To achieve its goal, multiple biophysical methods and approaches have become part of the structural biology toolbox. Considered as one of the pillars of structural biology, X-ray crystallography has been the most successful method for solving three-dimensional protein structures at atomic level to date. It is however limited by the success in obtaining well-ordered protein crystals that diffract at high resolution. This is especially true for challenging targets such as membrane proteins (MPs). Understanding structure-function relationships of MPs at the biochemical level is vital for medicine and drug discovery as they play critical roles in many cellular processes. Though difficult, structure determination of MPs by X-ray crystallography has significantly improved in the last two decades, mainly due to many relevant technological and methodological developments. Today, numerous MP crystal structures have been solved, revealing many of their mechanisms of action. Yet the field of structural biology has also been through significant technological breakthroughs in recent years, particularly in the fields of single particle electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and X-ray free electron lasers (XFELs). Here we summarise the most important advancements in the field of MP crystallography and the significance of these developments in the present era of modern structural biology.

Journal Keywords: crystallography; data collection; lipidic cubic phase; membrane proteins; microcrystallography; structural biology

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials

Technical Areas:

Added On: 17/11/2020 14:35

Discipline Tags:

Life Sciences & Biotech Biophysics Structural biology Chemistry Biochemistry

Technical Tags: