Microtechnologies for membrane protein studies

Suzuki, Hiroaki; Takeuchi, Shoji
August 2008
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Aug2008, Vol. 391 Issue 8, p2695
Academic Journal
Despite the rapid and enormous progress in biotechnologies, the biochemical analysis of membrane proteins is still a difficult task. The presence of the large hydrophobic region buried in the lipid bilayer membrane (transmembrane domain) makes it difficult to analyze membrane proteins in standard assays developed for water-soluble proteins. To handle membrane proteins, the lipid bilayer membrane may be used as a platform to sustain their functionalities. Relatively slow progress in developing micro total analysis systems (μTAS) for membrane protein analysis directly reflects the difficulty of handling lipid membranes, which is a common problem in bulk measurement technologies. Nonetheless, researchers are continuing to develop efficient and sensitive analytical microsystems for the study of membrane proteins. Here, we review the latest developments, which enable detection of events caused by membrane proteins, such as ion channel current, membrane transport, and receptor/ligand interaction, by utilizing microfabricated structures. High-throughput and highly sensitive detection systems for membrane proteins are now becoming a realistic goal. Although most of these systems are still in the early stages of development, we believe this field will become one of the most important applications of μTAS for pharmaceutical and clinical screenings as well as for basic biochemical research.


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