Research NewsX-ray Crystallography

Opening the Door to More Membrane Protein Structures

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Science  12 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5332, pp. 1607-1608
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5332.1607

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Membrane proteins have so far failed to benefit from the new developments in x-ray crystallography that are allowing researchers to churn out three-dimensional (3D) protein structures at a rate of more than one per day. The problem is that they tend to fall apart when removed from the membrane in crystallization efforts. But in work described on page 1676, researchers have now determined the 3D structure of the membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin in the greatest detail yet. And the methods they use for growing and analyzing the crystals should be applicable to other membrane proteins.