Biophysics of Membrane Proteins

Instructor: Emad Tajkhorshid
WF 3:00 - 3:50, Wohlers Hall, room 166

Office hours: Tue 2:00-3:00, Beckman Institute, room 3161

Course announcement flyer

The course will focus on structure-function relationship of membrane proteins for which three dimensional structures are known. One of the objectives of the course is to introduce to students the broad spectrum of information that can be obtained from structural examination and computer simulation of membrane proteins. Toward this end, we will first discuss briefly structure and properties of biological membranes and principles of membrane-protein interaction. Then, several case studies of membrane proteins will be presented. For each system, we start with reviewing the biology and biochemistry of the system, followed by discussion of the results of simulations, and try to relate them to the function of the system. A brief methodological discussion will accompany the case studies, when necessary.

As their term project, students are required to study a protein of known structure in detail, analyze and understand the details of the structure carefully, and summarize their findings in a project paper. Although a membrane protein is preferred for this purpose, students may choose to work on another protein, if it is related directly to their research. I would like to encourage students to also prepare a short presentation (10-15 min) about their system. Such a presentation is not required, but will positively influence their final grades.

A database of proteins of known structure along with their coordinates is maintained by the Protein Data Bank. Lists of membrane proteins of know structures are compiled by individual research groups, two of which are mentioned below.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions:
Emad Tajkhorshid: ; 244-4361
Markus Dittrich:
Please send me your email address, even if you want to only audit the course without registering. That would enable me to reach you quickly about last minute changes and announcement, if necessary.

Course materials:

  1. Introduction (slides in pdf)

  2. Biological Membranes (slides in pdf)
  3. Membrane Proteins Structure (slides in pdf)
  4. Retinal Proteins (slides in pdf)
  5. Bacteriorhodopsin and the Purple Membrane (slides in pdf)
  6. Spectral Tuning in Retinal Proteins (slides in pdf)
  7. Rhodopsin (slides in pdf)
  8. Sensory Receptors (slides in pdf)
  9. Membrane water channels (1) (slides in pdf)
  10. Membrane water channels (2) (slides in pdf)
  11. Other membrane channels (slides in pdf)
  12. F1F0 ATP-Synthase (slides in pdf)

Links to programs and related web sites:

Other references: