PSI Structural Biology Knowledgebase

PSI | Structural Biology Knowledgebase
Header Icons

id="title" class="nomar"PSI Membrane Network

Research Description

Several breakthroughs have been made in the past several years regarding membrane protein structure and function.  However, research on the structural biology of membrane proteins remains a highly challenging and intimidating endeavor. To date, only 261 unique structures have been solved (717 total membrane protein PDB depositions compared to more than 69,000 total PDB depositions). Our basic understanding of membrane proteins is still far behind that of the soluble protein counterparts ranging from folding to structure to dynamics. With the recent development of a number of new membrane protein technologies and additional tools now being optimized, we are in a position to significantly increase our basic understanding of this important protein class.


Starting in September, 2010 a balanced portfolio of nine PSI:Biology membrane protein centers were created to address the need of significantly improving our understanding of membrane protein structure and function. Four of these centers have a focus on developing technologies and pipelines to increase the rate and reliability of membrane protein structure determination, three centers are focused on the broad family of membrane proteins (structural genomics), and two centers are focused on specific membrane protein families.   Two biology partnerships were also created to work closely with the centers on specific biological areas of research.


Technology Focused Centers


Membrane Protein Structure Biology Consortium by Crystallography


Membrane Protein Structure by Solution NMR


Transcontinental EM Initiative for Membrane Protein Structure


TransMembrane Protein Center

Structural Genomics Focused Centers


Center for Structures of Membrane Proteins


Center for Membrane Proteins in Infectious Diseases


New York Consortium on Membrane Protein Structure

Specific Protein Family Focused Centers


Human Transporters

GPCR Network

Human G protein-Coupled Receptors

U01 Partnerships

Structure, Dynamics and Activation Mechanisms of Chemokine Receptors

Structure-Function Studies of Tight Junction Membrane Proteins


A key goal of the nine centers is to work closely together over the next five years and provide a much better understanding of membrane protein structure and function, as well as bridging the very large gap between genomic knowledge and membrane proteins. Such an ambitious task cannot however be accomplished by the nine centers alone.  Active recruitment of collaborations within the broader scientific community and outreach are key and measureable drivers for the success of the program. 


Key publications

Pieper U, Schlessinger A, Kloppmann E, Chang GA, Chou JJ, Dumont ME, Fox BG, Fromme P, Hendrickson WA, Malkowski MG, Rees DC, Stokes DL, Stowell MH, Wiener MC, Rost B, Stroud RM, Stevens RC, Sali A. Coordinating the impact of structural genomics on the human α-helical transmembrane proteome.

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Feb;20(2):135-8.  doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2508.

PMID: 23381628

Structural Biology Knowledgebase ISSN: 1758-1338
Funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health