Computational design of membrane proteins

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2011 Aug;21(4):460-6. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Jul 15.


This article reviews the recent successes of computational protein design techniques applied to integral membrane proteins. This emerging area is still handicapped by significant difficulties in the experimental characterization of the stability and structure of the designed proteins. Nevertheless, by focusing on oligomeric complexes of single-span transmembrane (TM) peptides with detectable activity, the computational design of membrane proteins has already produced very exciting results. The 'take-home message' is that optimization of van der Waals packing and hydrogen bonding (both 'canonical' and weak Cα-H⋯O bonds) can produce functional structures of remarkable stability and specificity in the membrane.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Electron Transport
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Structure, Secondary


  • Membrane Proteins