Information encoding in proteins
In humans, transmembrane signaling coordinates tissue and organ function. Inappropriate signaling is associated with numerous diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. All known transmembrane signaling processes require the formation of transient complexes between a membrane-spanning protein and an intracellular binding partner. These transient complexes are similar in some respects to transition states in chemical reactions, i.e. they are unstable, but essential for signaling to occur. Understanding the molecular details of these complexes is important for a complete view of biological signaling. To reveal how information is transferred across a membrane, we are performing x-ray crystallographic analysis of several model systems.