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Protein Sci. 2009 Jul;18(7):1335-42. doi: 10.1002/pro.165.

G-protein-coupled receptor structures were not built in a day.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA-DOE Institute for Genomics and Proteomics, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095-1570, USA.


Among the most exciting recent developments in structural biology is the structure determination of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which comprise the largest class of membrane proteins in mammalian cells and have enormous importance for disease and drug development. The GPCR structures are perhaps the most visible examples of a nascent revolution in membrane protein structure determination. Like other major milestones in science, however, such as the sequencing of the human genome, these achievements were built on a hidden foundation of technological developments. Here, we describe some of the methods that are fueling the membrane protein structure revolution and have enabled the determination of the current GPCR structures, along with new techniques that may lead to future structures.

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