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Keywords:

  • barrel structures;
  • mechanical unfolding;
  • membrane proteins;
  • molecular interactions;
  • protein unfolding
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Roll out the barrel: By using single-molecule force spectroscopy, a β-barrel-forming outer-membrane protein is unfolded for the first time. OmpG from E. coli shows a surprising unfolding behavior: Single β strands do not unfold individually but as β hairpins. These β hairpins unfold one after another until the entire β-barrel membrane protein is unfolded (see structural representation).