Transmembrane proteins play an important role in many signaling pathways and the exchange of material across the membrane. Many are considered to be are important pharmaceutical targets.
The intracellular concentration of calcium ions controls multiple physiological processes, such as muscle contraction, cell proliferation, and release of neurotransmitters. Diverse Ca2+ transporters and pumps act in concert to restore the low resting concentration of calcium (~100nM) in order to prevent damage to the cell due to Ca2+ overload. By analyzing the 3-D structure a Ca2+-antiporter we are trying to obtain a better understanding of how cells establish the Ca2+ resting concentration. In a collaborative effort, we are also investigating the structure of a transporter complex.