OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences


Prakash G. Doiphode and Vivek Pratap Singh

DOI : 10.3844/ojbsci.2012.118.122

OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences

Volume 12, Issue 3

Pages 118-122


Crystallography is more like an art than science. Crystallizing membrane proteins are a big challenge; membrane proteins are present in the cell membrane and serve as cell support. The most important feature of membrane protein is that it contains both hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions on its surface. They are generally much more difficult to study than soluble proteins. The problem becomes more difficult when trying to obtain crystals to determine the high resolution structures of membrane proteins. We want to utilize this opportunity to briefly examine various approaches for crystallization of membrane proteins. The important factors for determining the success of crystallization experiments for membrane proteins lies in the purification, preparation of membrane samples, the environment in which the crystals are grown and the technique used to grow the crystals. All the X-ray structures of membrane protein are grown from preparations of detergents by different methods developed to crystallize. In this review different techniques for the crystallization of membrane proteins are being described. The cubic phase method also known as in meso method is discussed along with other methods to understand about the crystallization of membrane proteins, its general applicability, salt, detergent and screening effects on crystallization. Low volumes as nano-liter of samples can be used for crystallization. The effects of different detergents on the crystallization of membrane protein, as well as the use of surfactants like polyoxyethylene. Approach based on the detergent complexation to prove the ability of cyclodextrins to remove detergent from ternary mixtures in order to get 2D crystals. Crystallization of membrane proteins using non-ionic surfactants as well as Lipidic sponge phase and with swollen lipidic mesophases is discussed to better understand the crystallization of membrane proteins.


© 2012 Prakash G. Doiphode and Vivek Pratap Singh. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.