Overexpression of Proteins with Seven Transmembrane Spanning Segments

  • Volker Hildebrandt
  • Dieter Oesterhelt
Part of the Biotechnology Intelligence Unit book series (BIOIU)


Polytopic cell surface proteins with seven transmembrane spanning segments (7TMS) form a large and functionally diverse superfamily.1 Up to now more than 400 genes of this superfamily have been cloned and the total number is expected to exceed 2000. For many members of this superfamily, it has been shown that the Nterminus is on the extracellular side of the membrane and the Cterminus is on the intracellular side. The proposed secondary structure is exemplified for bacteriorhodopsin (BR) in Figure 5.1. The transmembrane segments are believed to be α-helices (23–26 amino acids long), which are oriented roughly perpendicular to the membrane. BR is a light-driven proton pump of the Archeon Halobacterium salinarium.2,3 It is currently the only protein of the 7TMS superfamily whose structure has been elucidated at 3–5 Å resolution in the direction parallel and about 10 Å perpendicular to the membrane plane.4 This makes BR a topographic model for other proteins with 7TMS, even for those of Eukarya.5–9 The resolution of bovine rhodopsin is about 9 Å parallel and approximately 47 Å perpendicular to the plane of the membrane.10,11 The primary sequence information on potential members of the superfamily is rapidly increasing and as a consequence, the suspected sequence identity between


Protein Couple Receptor Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces Pombe Bovine Rhodopsin Foreign Gene Expression 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Volker Hildebrandt
  • Dieter Oesterhelt

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