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De novo design of a transmembrane Zn2+-transporting four-helix bundle

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1520-1524
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261172

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Building transmembrane zinc transporters

The ability to design proteins gives insight into the relation between a protein's fold and its function and also provides a path to custom proteins for bioengineering applications. Impressive strides have been made in the design of soluble proteins, but designing membrane proteins remains a challenge. Joh et al. achieve a milestone by designing a transmembrane Zn2+ transporter (see the Perspective by Lupas). The protein comprises four helices: Two tightly interacting pairs form a weaker interface that facilitates the transport of Zn2+ with concomitant reverse transport of protons.

Science, this issue p. 1520; see also p. 1455