Membrane-Disrupting Proteins

  • Jeremy H. LakeyEmail author
  • Gregor Anderluh
Reference work entry
Part of the Handbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology book series (HHLM)


The cell membrane is vulnerable to attack from various external toxins and environmental threats. The ability to damage membranes of target cells has evolved across biology as a way to procure food and defend against disease or attack from other species. The membrane disruption is mostly carried out by proteins, and, although they originate from across the full spectrum of biological diversity, they share common mechanisms at the molecular level. This chapter uses specific examples to show how the secondary structure of proteins determines the various modes of action and how, starting from simple physicochemical interactions, specific molecular recognition has arisen to increase the effectiveness of the toxins.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Cell and Molecular BiosciencesNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Laboratory for Molecular Biology and NanobiotechnologyNational Institute of ChemistryLjubljanaSlovenia

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