Recombinant production of membrane proteins in yeast

Methods Enzymol. 2021:660:21-52. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2021.07.003. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


Biochemical pathways are compartmentalized in living cells. This permits each cell to maintain chemical compositions that differ between the cytosol, intracellular organelles and the external environment. Achieving this requires each compartment to be very selective in what is allowed to enter and leave. Nature has solved this by surrounding each cell and each organelle with a virtually solute impermeable lipid membrane, embedded with integral membrane proteins that mediate strictly controlled trans-membrane movement of matter and information. Access to pure and active integral membrane proteins is therefore required to comprehend membrane biology, ultimately through high-resolution structures of the membrane proteome and, therefore, also for our understanding of physiology. Unfortunately, apart from a few exceptions, membrane proteins cannot be purified from native tissue but need to be produced recombinantly, which is eminently challenging. This chapter shows how we have engineered yeast to provide high levels of prime quality membrane proteins of prokaryotic, archaeal or eukaryotic origin for structural biology.

Keywords: Heterologous proteins; Membrane proteins; Structural biology.

MeSH terms

  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Membrane Proteins* / chemistry
  • Organelles / metabolism
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae* / genetics


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Proteome