Towards structure determination of human membrane proteins

Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London,
○So Iwata

The results of various genome projects have shown that up to 30% of human proteins occur in cell membranes. Membrane proteins play crucial roles in many biological functions and are of key importance for medicine. Over 50% of commercially available drugs target membrane proteins. In spite of the abundance and importance of membrane proteins there are only 100 unique membrane protein structures in the Protein Data Bank. To address the technical bottlenecks preventing the structure determination of membrane proteins, we have recently started “ERATO human receptor crystallography project” supported by the Japanese Science and Technology Agency. We have also obtained a support from the Wellcome trust to establish an outstation of Imperial College London at the new UK synchrotron Diamond. I will discuss our strategy how to establish the structure determination method of human membrane proteins using these new facilities and its impact on biological sciences, pharmacology and medicine.