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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Feb 17;1610(1):11-22.

Specific lipid requirements of membrane proteins--a putative bottleneck in heterologous expression.

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  • 1Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, 142 20 4 Prague, Czech Republic.


Membrane proteins are mostly protein-lipid complexes. For more than 30 examples of membrane proteins from prokaryotes, yeast, plant and mammals, the importance of phospholipids and sterols for optimal activity is documented. All crystallized membrane protein complexes show defined lipid-protein contacts. In addition, lipid requirements may also be transitory and necessary only for correct folding and intercellular transport. With respect to specific lipid requirements of membrane proteins, the phospholipid and glycolipid as well as the sterol content of the host cell chosen for heterologous expression should be carefully considered. The lipid composition of bacteria, archaea, yeasts, insects,Xenopus oocytes, and typical plant and mammalian cells are given in this review. A few examples of heterologous expression of membrane proteins, where problems of specific lipid requirements have been noticed or should be thought of, have been chosen.

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