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Abstract

The transmembrane protein aquaporin spans biological membranes and forms channels that allow the passage of water molecules. The water channels consist of alpha helices (purple cylinders) and are shown as a Conolly surface,in which the electrostatic potential is represented by colors (blue: negative, red: positive). Peter Agre and Roderick MacKinnon were awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of water channels and for structural and mechanistic studies on ion channels, respectively. Cover illustration by courtesy of Prof. Dr. Jürgen Brickmann, Dr. Thorsten Borosch, MOLNET e.V.