Recent innovations in membrane-protein structural biology [version 1; referees: 3 approved]

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14 Scopus citations


Innovations are expanding the capabilities of experimental investigations of the structural properties of membrane proteins. Traditionally, three-dimensional structures have been determined by measuring x-ray diffraction using protein crystals with a size of least 100 μm. For membrane proteins, achieving crystals suitable for these measurements has been a significant challenge. The availabilities of micro-focus x-ray beams and the new instrumentation of x-ray free-electron lasers have opened up the possibility of using submicrometer-sized crystals. In addition, advances in cryo-electron microscopy have expanded the use of this technique for studies of protein crystals as well as studies of individual proteins as single particles. Together, these approaches provide unprecedented opportunities for the exploration of structural properties of membrane proteins, including dynamical changes during protein function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number211
StatePublished - 2019


  • Cryo-electron microscopy
  • Protein crystallography
  • Protein dynamics
  • X-ray free electron laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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