Frozen motion: how cryo-EM changes the way we look at ABC transporters

Dmitry Shvarev, Dovile Januliene, Arne Moeller

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are widely present molecular machines that transfer substrates across the cell membrane. ABC transporters are involved in numerous physiological processes and are often clinical targets. Structural biology is fundamental to obtain the molecular details underlying ABC transporter function and suggest approaches to modulate it. Until recently, X-ray crystallography has been the only method capable of providing high-resolution structures of ABC transporters. However, modern cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) opens entirely new ways of studying these dynamic membrane proteins. Cryo-EM enables analyses of targets that resist X-ray crystallography, challenging multicomponent complexes, and the exploration of conformational dynamics. These unique capacities have turned cryo-EM into the dominant technique for structural studies of membrane proteins, including ABC transporters.

DOI: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.11.008

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *