Gramicidin channels - A solvable membrane "protein" folding problem
The linear gramicidins are peptide antibiotics that form cation-selective channels in lipid bilayers. Gramicidin channels have very well-defined functional characteristics, and the structure of membrane-spanning gramicidin A channels is known at atomic resolution. These features make the gramicidins well suited to study how the amino acid sequence encodes the structure and function of a membrane-spanning channel. We show how one can use electrophysiological measurements to obtain structural information about conducting channels and to quantify the conformational preferences of sequence-substituted gramicidin mutants.