Physical Methods on Biological Membranes and Their Model Systems: A Perspective
When we try to understand living organisms, biological membranes present a problem of considerable interest. Over the years it has become clear that these lamellar structures not only form boundaries between different subcellular environments but that they also fulfill many other functions of great importance, both obvious and subtle. However, our molecular understanding of these membrane functions is still rather poor. With respect to transport phenomena, for example, all mechanistic details are missing. This is not only true when we question how newly synthesized peptide chains pass the membrane when entering the endoplasmic reticulum but also when we ask how single ions pass cell membranes. Endocytosis, exocytosis and fusion processes in general are not well understood, although interesting hypotheses are currently being presented, and some are being discussed at this Anvanced Study Institute. Other examples of membrane activities which are under discussion are the way membrane-bound enzymes are regulated and how the lipids may influence the receptor functions of membranes.
KeywordsNuclear Magnetic Resonance Electron Spin Resonance Biological Membrane Photoaffinity Label Nanosecond Time Scale
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