Database Study on the Expression and Purification of Membrane Proteins

Protein Pept Lett. 2021;28(9):972-982. doi: 10.2174/0929866528666210415120234.


Membrane proteins are crucial for biological processes, and many of them are important to drug targets. Understanding the three-dimensional structures of membrane proteins are essential to evaluate their bio-function and drug design. High-purity membrane proteins are important for structural determination. Membrane proteins have low yields and are difficult to purify because they tend to aggregate. We summarized membrane protein expression systems, vectors, tags, and detergents, which have deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) in recent four-and-a-half years. Escherichia coli is the most expression system for membrane proteins, and HEK293 cells are the most commonly cell lines for human membrane protein expression. The most frequently vectors are pFastBac1 for alpha-helical membrane proteins, pET28a for beta-barrel membrane proteins, and pTRC99a for monotopic membrane proteins. The most used tag for membrane proteins is the 6×His-tag. FLAG commonly used for alpha-helical membrane proteins, Strep and GST for beta- barrel and monotopic membrane proteins, respectively. The detergents and their concentrations used for alpha-helical, beta-barrel, and monotopic membrane proteins are different, and DDM is commonly used for membrane protein purification. It can guide the expression and purification of membrane proteins, thus contributing to their structure and bio function studying.

Keywords: Membrane protein; database; detergent.; expression; purification; tags.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Protein*
  • Escherichia coli* / genetics
  • Escherichia coli* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression*
  • Membrane Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Proteins* / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins* / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins* / isolation & purification
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins* / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins* / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins* / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins* / isolation & purification


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins