Conserved lipid-binding sites in membrane proteins: a focus on cytochrome c oxidase

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2007 Aug;17(4):444-50. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2007 Aug 23.


Specific interactions between lipids and membrane proteins have been observed in recent high-resolution crystal structures of membrane proteins. A number of cytochrome oxidase structures were analyzed, along with many amino acid sequences of membrane-spanning regions aligned according to their location in the membrane. The results reveal conservation of lipid-binding sites and of the residues that form them. These studies imply that bound lipids have important roles that are crucial to the assembly, structure, or activity of the protein. Evidence for some of these roles in subunit interactions, membrane insertion, and protein-protein complex formation is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / chemistry*
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Membrane Lipids / chemistry*
  • Membrane Lipids / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Membrane Lipids
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Electron Transport Complex IV