Membrane protein structure and function

Membrane proteins are central to health and disease. They play essential roles in the functioning of our cells. They regulate cell-cell communication, membrane potential, membrane gradients of pH or ions, the exchange of nutrients and substrates, intracellular signaling, or cell defense. The majority of the targets of today’s pharmaceutical drugs are membrane proteins, whereby G-protein coupled receptors, ion channels, and transporters play major roles.

We use single particle cryo-EM to study the structure of several membrane protein systems, aiming for high-resolution structural analysis of the protein in a lipidic environment (lipid nanodisk), and in the presence of different environmental conditions (pH, salt), ligands or inhibitors, or other protein binding partners.

We also use cryo-electron tomography to study the intracellular location and role of membrane proteins in the cellular environment.

ABCG2, in collaboration with the group of Kaspar Locher, ETHZ.
Taylor et al., Nature 2017.


  • Kaspar Locher (ETH Zürich)
  • Jean-Louis Reymond (Uni Bern)
  • Hugues Abriel (Uni Bern)
  • Stephan Grzesiek (Uni Basel)
  • Roland Riek (ETH Zürich)
  • Kris Palczewski (UC Irvine)
  • (Michael Hennig, CEO)