Encyclopedia of Biophysics

2013 Edition
| Editors: Gordon C. K. Roberts

Membrane Protein Structure

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-16712-6_422



Membrane proteins are proteins with at least one domain that is physically embedded into a biological membrane. Protein structure is defined as the three-dimensional configuration of the protein amino acid sequence.


The term “membrane protein” is widely used to describe proteins that are inserted in, anchored to, or otherwise associated with a biological membrane. From a structural point of view, however, only membrane-inserted domains present characteristics that are clearly different from those of their soluble counterparts. These structural features stem from evolutionary adaptation to the peculiar membrane environment. In contrast, overall structural architecture of membrane-associated or membrane-anchored domains presents features similar to those of soluble domains. This entry focuses on the structure of integral membrane proteins (IMPs), or proteins whose polypeptide chain...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wellcome Trust Sanger InstituteCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Technical University MunichGarchingGermany