MPECDeveloping & Applying Innovative Expression Methods
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The Membrane Protein Expression Center (MPEC) develops and applies the latest innovative methods that yield structurally and functionally intact membrane proteins for subsequent drug development, structural, and functional characterization. The MPEC focuses especially on eukaryotic membrane proteins since they provide many major drug target proteins. The MPEC accepts target genes for expression in functional form from client laboratories. How to Apply  


The MPEC maintains confidential agreements with the corporate sector, and maintains internal AND external advisory committees. Internal advisors include members of the UCSF community that can benefit most from the MPEC.

The external advisory board meets once a year to help guide optimal forefront development of the MPEC. These advisors always include at least two persons with high positions in local biotechnology industry, whose perspective will therefore include focus onto patent prospects, and the long range sustenance and fostering of the efforts of the MPEC as they become established.

An annual meeting for advisory boards is held at UCSF usually in early May/June. Applications to join the meeting should contact Suzan Betheil by calling (415) 514-4179. The 2012 meeting will be held on May 3rd at the Mission Bay Campus. This year's meeting is internal to the MPEC and collaborators who have an agreed contract with the MPEC.

Key Intellectual Property

Each of the Principal Investigators has played a key role in the discovery of major membrane protein biology, and/or in the development of procedures to understand membrane proteins at the molecular level.

Robert Stroud and his group have studied many membrane protein systems seeking characterizations and crystal structures. So far they have determined 5 high resolution structures of membrane proteins at atomic resolution.

Robert Edwards and his group have been key to discovery of the basis for vesicular transport that is key to neuronal signaling.

Charles Craik has pioneered the selection of Fab fragments from phage displayed libraries. These are used as partners for co-crystallizations of membrane proteins.

Peter Walter is co-discoverer of the signal recognition particle (SRP) directed targeting of membrane proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum which he has vastly elaborated. Recently Walter and Stroud reported the structural mechanism of targeting membrane proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane by the SRP-SR interaction (10). Walter has been a key investigator in the elaboration of the response to unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum that leads to huge exxpansoin of the endoplasmic reticulum. These systems are ones that we intend to harness in the MPEC.

Jonathan Weissman has pioneered methods for globally defining the proteins that associate to form complexes in a number of organisms. The efforts are most mature in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, where a combination of immunoprecipitation of affinity tagged proteins and in vivo screening strategies, such as yeast two-hybrid approaches and its derivatives. 

Ronald Kaback is world reknowned for his extensive studies of the Lactose permease. Over many years he has been a pioneer in membrane biology. Kaback recently was coauthor with Iwata of the structure determination of the Lac permease (11, 12). Thus his extensive mutational analysis of Lac permease is legendary and can now be interpreted.

Collaborator Schuldiner is a world expert in the in vitro expression of membrane proteins and has especially focused on the multi-drug exporter EmrE, for which he obtained an electron microscopic structure determination (13).

Collaborator James Holton a leading young scientist in x-ray diffraction methods development.

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Principal Investigators
Advisory Boards

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