Transmembrane proteins, typically embedded in the membrane of cellular organisms and all cells, brings about their normal functioning. In fact, numerous transmembrane proteins that occur naturally function as gateways – they allow the movement of certain substances through a biological membrane. Some transmembrane proteins also transmit or receive signals from cells. Such functionalities have led to the development of quite a few drugs to target transmembrane proteins and change their function.
And now, scientists have come up with tailor-made, complicated transmembrane proteins from scratch. The successful initiative was spearheaded by molecular engineers from Institute for Protein Design, University of Washington. This will enable them to conduct particular tasks.
Artificial Multispan Membrane Proteins Imitate Natural Ones
The head of the research team David Baker says that their efforts have made way for generating multispan membrane proteins which are capable of imitating natural proteins or contain entirely unique structures and functions.
However, comprehending how transmembrane proteins are placed together and work has been a difficult task. This is because they are embedded in the cellular membrane from where they function. Proteins that function in the watery solutions that build the cytoplasm of cells or in the fluid outside the cell are easier to study.
To conduct the study, the team of researchers build a computer program and named it Rosetta. It can foretell what the structure of the protein would be once it has been synthesized. The architecture of a protein is important since it is something on which its function depends.