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Breakthrough in resolving membrane protein structures at real lipid bilayer environment

Our recent work on resolving the structure of membrane protein at real lipid environment has been published in Nature Communications.

In this work, we resolved the structure of 5-HT3 receptor in lipid bilayers. Different from all previous structures, which were resolved at mix detergent micelle environment, our structured can be easily activated by an agonist molecule in physiological condition. This is totally absent before.

The RMSD of the backbone atoms between this new structure , previous structure is as large as 34 angstrom, whereas the diameter of trans-membrane pore is 5 angstrom wider than that resolved in artificial lipid environment.

The structure resolved at real lipid environment is close to the target real physiological state. It provides more accurate information for the structure-based drug discovery, could reduce the R&D costs noticeably.