Structure and function of membrane proteins: channels and transporters

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Guest Editors
Dr. Oscar Moran
Istituto di Biofisica
Consiglio nazionale delle Ricerche
Genova, Italy
Email: oscar.moran@cnr.it

Dr. Olga Zegarra-Moran
Laboratorio di Genetica Molecolare
Istituto Giannina Gaslini
Genova, Italy
Email: ozegarra@unige.it

Manuscript Topics
Ion channels and membrane transporters are key mechanisms in cell physiology. They are involved in basic cellular functions including metabolism and homeostasis regula-tion, cell communication, as well as in complex mechanisms as nerve conduction and syn-aptic transmission, excitation-contraction coupling, hormone secretion and perception of the ambient conditions. The knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of channels and transporters have had a paramount impact on the understanding of various pathologies and on the identification of hundreds of pharmacological targets.

Membrane proteins are complex amphiphilic with relatively high molecular mass, that posses serious difficulties for resolving their structure at atomic level. This difficulties are evidenced by the fact that less than 4% of proteins deposited in the Protein Data Bank are classified as membrane proteins. But a complete comprehension of a molecular mechanism needs the knowledge of the structure: Francis Crick said “if you want to under-stand function, study structure”. At the end of the 1990's, a huge forward step on crystallo-graphic techniques has allowed to resolve the atomic structure of several transporter and channels prototypes and in this way opened new perspectives for the comprehension of the structure-function relationships of similar proteins. Now, the lack of precise structural information of a given system is solved with homology molecular models that are used as a template to design perturbation experiments, most of site directed mutagenesis, that allow researchers to gather the information necessary to establish a correlation between the protein function and the molecular structure.

This issue solicits contributions that address the structure and function correlations of channels and transporters. The aim is to discuss how the structure of these membrane proteins determine the function of the mechanisms of transport across the membranes, and in what way modifications of the structure may change the proteins function, even de-termining a pathological condition.

Paper submission
All manuscripts will be peer-reviewed before their acceptance for publication.
The deadline for manuscript submission is 31 July 2014.

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Naomi L. Pollock, Oscar Moran, Debora Baroni, Olga Zegarra-Moran, Robert C. Ford
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Thomas Rauen, Rose Tanui, Christof Grewer
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