PerspectiveStructural Biology

Flipping Lipids: Is the Third Time the Charm?

Science  13 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5724, pp. 963-965
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113414

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Certain membrane-spanning proteins expel hydrophobic molecules such as lipids and drugs from cells, but just how they accomplish this has been unclear. As Davidson and Chen describe in their Perspective, two new studies ( Dong et al., and Reyes et al.) explain how a transporter protein called MsbA expends energy and changes its organization to flip a molecule from one side of the membrane to the other.