Talking about Membrane Protein and Its Production

  • Membrane proteins are proteins in biological membranes. They account for over 30% of all proteins in human genome and are responsible for primary cellular functions, including materials transportation, signal transduction, intercellular recognition ligand-receptor binding, and cell adhesion. Moreover, they dominate the current drug targets, indicating their remarkable significance to medical research. According to the distinct membrane-protein interactions, the membrane protein can be categorized into two categories: integral and peripheral membrane proteins. Integral membrane proteins are permanently anchored or part of the membrane, while peripheral membrane proteins attach themselves temporarily to the lipid bilayer or to integral proteins. 


    Membrane proteins perform a range of functions vital to the survival of organisms. On the other hand, defects in membrane proteins may lead to diseases, such as cancer. Membrane proteins take on four tasks. First, membrane receptor proteins are responsible for relaying signals between the cell’s inner and outer environments. Second, transport proteins act as carriers moving molecules and ions across the membrane. Third, membrane enzymes, such as oxidoreductase, transferase and hydrolase, enable specific chemical reactions on the membrane. Fourth, antigen recognition relies on membrane proteins, in that cell adhesion molecules allow cells to identify each other and interact, such as proteins involved in immune response.


    As a common type of proteins along with soluble globular proteins, fibrous proteins, and disordered proteins, membrane proteins feature low natural abundance and highly complicated structure. For this reason, it’s always been challenging to obtain recombinant membrane proteins with intact confirmation and bio-activity. Thus, it matters a great deal to select a superior membrane protein platform, which is supposed to cover the phages of expression, solubilization, reconstitution, and characterization. At present, there are various host organisms available for the production of membrane proteins, including escherichia coli, yeast cells, baculovirus-insect cells, mammalian cells, etc. Besides, cell-free expression systems for membrane proteins are popular, such as escherichia coli lysate, wheat germ, rabbit reticulocyte lysate, and the PURE system. 


    Virus-like particles (VLPs) and lipoparticles are also applied to membrane protein production. VLPs enjoy the similar organization and conformation to real viruses, but they lack the viral genome, showing that they are non-infectious. Nowadays, their applications have extended to vaccinology, immunology, and virology. However, the prokaryotic expression system represented by escherichia coli appears to be the major approach to obtaining recombinant membrane proteins thanks to its advantages such as simple operation, lower cost, easy isotope labeling, abundant expression vectors and host strains, etc. All in all, there are multiple options for the production of membrane proteins.


    Membrane proteins play a great role in cellular activities. Since it’s tough to produce them with their bio-activity undamaged, selecting a high-quality platform is of much importance. With the development of production technology, there will be an increasing number of better methods available for the generation of membrane proteins.


    About Creative Biolabs


    Creative Biolabs specializes in superior custom services about antibody production and engineering. Its service portfolio covers mouse and rat monoclonal antibody production by means of hybridoma technology, and human, monkey, rabbit, chicken, dog, llama and camel monoclonal antibody production by use of various antibody library technologies (including phage display, bacterial display and yeast display).