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‘Unfolding’ membrane proteins to study them

21 October 2022
The research has just been published in the eLife journal

Of the twenty thousand genes that compose the human genome, around 30% of them code for proteins located in the cell membrane. Moreover, 50% of the drugs in use today precisely target these kind proteins. These biological structures, however, are particularly difficult to study, especially in their native environment. A technique developed at Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati - SISSA in Trieste, using artificial intelligence and atomic force microscopy, now makes it possible to identify them thanks to the way they 'unfold' directly from their membrane, without having to purify them. This new approach could lead to future interesting developments in the diagnosis of diseases linked to their malfunctioning.