Peptides may be synthesized with sequences corresponding to putative transmembrane domains and/or pore-lining regions that are deduced from the primary structures of ion channel proteins. These can then be incorporated into lipid bilayer membranes for structural and functional studies. In addition to the ability to invoke ion channel activity, critical issues are the secondary structures adopted and the mode of assembly of these short transmembrane peptides in the reconstituted systems. The present review concentrates on results obtained with peptides from ligand-gated and voltage-gated ion channels, as well as proton-conducting channels. These are considered within the context of current molecular models and the limited data available on the structure of native ion channels and natural channel-forming peptides.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1996