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Keywords:

  • aquaporin;
  • electron crystallography;
  • lipid-protein interactions;
  • membrane junction;
  • channel

Abstract

Aquaporins are a family of ubiquitous membrane proteins that form a pore for the permeation of water. Both electron and X-ray crystallography played major roles in determining the atomic structures of a number of aquaporins. This review focuses on electron crystallography, and its contribution to the field of aquaporin biology. We briefly discuss electron crystallography and the two-dimensional crystallization process. We describe features of aquaporins common to both electron and X-ray crystallographic structures; as well as some structural insights unique to electron crystallography, including aquaporin junction formation and lipid-protein interactions. © 2008 IUBMB IUBMB Life, 60(7): 430–436, 2008