Recombinant Membrane Protein Production: Past, Present and Future

Conference paper


One of the major challenges in membrane protein structural genomics is the production of properly folded protein in large quantities. Several in cell and cell-free expression systems have been developed. However, in most cases laborious trial-and-error based optimization of either the host, genetic circuitry or protein is necessary for high level production. A better understanding of membrane protein biogenesis is needed to obtain further insights into the bottlenecks of their expression. The application of “Omics” technologies to understand the host cell response to membrane protein overproduction has contributed significantly to our understanding of membrane protein production and provided rationales for optimization both the host cells and/or expression conditions. In this review, we present an overview of the current well-established expression systems and the successful approaches to optimize the synthesis of well-folded and functional membrane proteins.


Transport proteins Recombinant expression Membrane protein biogenesis Lactococcus lactis Escherichia coli Membrane protein production 



This research work was supported by the Netherlands Proteomics Centre (NPC), the European Membrane Protein Consortium EDICT, and the Netherlands Science Foundation (NWO; Chemical Sciences Top Subsidy to BP; grant number 700-56-302). We thank Gea Schuurman-Wolters for assistance with the experiments presented Fig. 2.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryGroningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, Netherlands Proteomics Centre and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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