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Integral membrane protein integrity, both at the functional and at the structural level, is controlled and maintained by the presence of either lipids or detergents. This chapter discusses the importance of various lipids in the formation of higher order structures for diffraction studies of a protein. The tendency of any system is to acquire an equilibrium through a process, or series of processes, such that the disorder of that system is maximized. The entropic disordering is, thus, maximized, whereas to form an ordered system, such as a crystal, the total potential energy of the system needs to be minimized, either through bond formation or interactions that produce a negative free energy. It is in bond formation or other interactions where lipids may play a role in the nucleation of a membrane protein. The chapter describes the effects that lipids have been shown to exert on 2D array and 3D crystal formation of integral membrane proteins. © 1993, Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


New Comprehensive Biochemistry

Publication Date





351 - 370