Natural constraints, folding, motion, and structural stability in transmembrane helical proteins

Susan E. Harrington*, Nir Ben-Tal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Transmembrane (TM) helical proteins are of fundamental importance in many diverse biological processes. To understand these proteins functionally, it is necessary to characterize the forces that stabilize them. What are these forces (both within the protein itself and between the protein and membrane) and how do they give rise to the multiple conformational states and complex activity of TM helical proteins? How do they act in concert to fold TM helical proteins, create their low-energy stable states, and guide their motion? These central questions have led to the description of critical natural constraints and partial answers, which we will review. We will then describe how these constraints can be tracked through homologs and proteins of similar folds in order to better understand how amino acid sequence can specify structure and guide motion. Our emphasis throughout will be on structural features of TM helix bundles themselves, but we will also sketch the membrane-related aspects of these questions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructural Bioinformatics of Membrane Proteins
PublisherSpringer Vienna
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9783709100448
StatePublished - 2010


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