Focus |

Focus on Membrane Proteins

Membrane proteins are central to many physiological processes and are targeted by ~50% of marketed pharmaceutical drugs. Determining the structures of membrane proteins is essential for understanding their function and for drug design. This Focus highlights the latest breakthroughs in elucidating the structure and mechanisms of ABC transporters and neurotransmitter-gated ion channels; it also explores recent technical and methodological advances in X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, NMR and computational approaches to investigate membrane proteins.


  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology | Editorial

    In a common yet effective analogy, a cell can be compared to a fortified city, in which lipid membranes form the defensive walls, and membrane proteins function as gates and checkpoints that control the transit of molecules and information across these walls. We evoke this concept on the cover of this special Focus on Membrane Proteins.

  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology | Commentary

    Wayne Hendrickson discusses the consortium efforts and developments in methodology that in recent years have allowed unprecedented advances in atomic-structure determination of membrane proteins.

    • Wayne A Hendrickson
  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology | Perspective

    The use of nanodiscs is substantially fostering structural and functional studies of membrane protein. This Perspective summarizes the recent use of nanodiscs as an invaluable tool for the characterization of membrane proteins.

    • Ilia G Denisov
    •  &  Stephen G Sligar
  • Nature Structural & Molecular Biology | Review Article

    ABC transporters use ATP hydrolysis to translocate substrates across cell membranes. Kaspar Locher reviews the mechanistic diversity of ABC transporters, as has emerged from recent structural studies, and discusses future directions for investigation of ABC-transporter-catalyzed reactions.

    • Kaspar P Locher