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Membrane proteins and proteomics: Love is possible, but so difficult


  • Thierry Rabilloud

    Corresponding author
    1. CEA-DSV/iRTSV/LBBSI, Biophysique et Biochimie des Systèmes Intégrés, CEA-Grenoble, Grenoble, France
    2. CNRS UMR 5092, Biophysique et Biochimie des Systèmes Intégrés, CEA-Grenoble, Grenoble, France
    • iRTSV/BBSI CEA-Grenoble, 17 rue des martyrs, F-38054 Grenoble Cedex 9, France Fax: +33-4–38-78–44-99
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Despite decades of extensive research, the large-scale analysis of membrane proteins remains a difficult task. This is due to the fact that membrane proteins require a carefully balanced hydrophilic and lipophilic environment, which optimum varies with different proteins, while most protein chemistry methods work mainly, if not only, in water-based media. Taking this review [Santoni, Molloy and Rabilloud, Membrane proteins and proteomics: un amour impossible? Electrophoresis 2000, 21, 1054–1070] as a pivotal paper, the current paper analyzes how the field of membrane proteomics exacerbated the trend in proteomics, i.e. developing alternate methods to the historical two-dimensional electrophoresis, and thus putting more and more pressure on the mass spectrometry side. However, in the case of membrane proteins, the incentive in doing so is due to the poor solubility of membrane proteins. This review also shows that in some situations, where this solubility problem is less acute, two-dimensional electrophoresis remains a method of choice. Last but not least, this review also critically examines the alternate approaches that have been used for the proteomic analysis of membrane proteins.