August 27, 2010
There's yet another great Technology Feature in NATURE, describing what it took - and what it takes - to pursue crystallographic GPCR structure determinations: The gatekeepers revealed: 10 June 2010 about gpcr xtallization.
Monya Baker has done a superb job in telling the people- and the research story behind the recent GPCR structure determination. Thankfully she does this in a language that would be suitable to share with your non-science inclined relatives, or with your colleagues that would like to get a superficial understanding on the 'state of the art'. I specifically like Monya's crystal clear, treatment of the subject matter. Not that I agree with her on all aspects of the piece, though. For example, omitting the pioneering work of Jurg Rosenbusch & Ehud Landau is more than an oversight. Indeed, the story starts in the mid 1990-ies at the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland when these researchers introduced for the first time lipidic cubic phases to membrane protein crystallographers. And Monya unfortunately misses to point out the ironic twist that one of the researchers mentioned in the article actually rejected an early paper for publication on precisely this subject, with the question 'who on earth would use such a complicated method for crystallization?'
Do note that yet another X-ray structure of a GPCR, that of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor subtype 1 is advertised within the body of the online text right below Stephen White's # membrane protein structures / year plot.