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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2010;677:14-23.

Energetics of peptide and protein binding to lipid membranes.

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Department of Biochemistry SL43, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112-2699, USA.


In every living cell, the lipid bilayer membrane is the ultimate boundary between the contents of the cell and the rest of universe. A single breach in this critical barrier is lethal. For this reason, the bilayer's permeability barrier is the point of attack of many offensive and defensive molecules, including peptides and proteins. Depending on one's perspective, these pore-forming molecules might be called toxins, venoms, antibiotics or host defense molecules and they can function by many different mechanisms, but they share one feature in common: they must bind to membranes to exert their effects. The thermodynamic and structural principles of polypeptide-membrane interactions are described in this chapter.

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