Membranes (Basel). 2022 Jul 7;12(7):694. doi: 10.3390/membranes12070694.
Membrane proteins play crucial roles in various physiological processes, including molecule transport across membranes, cell communication, and signal transduction. Approximately 60% of known drug targets are membrane proteins. There is a significant need to deeply understand the working mechanism of membrane proteins in detail, which is a challenging work due to the lack of available membrane structures and their large spatial scale. Membrane proteins carry out vital physiological functions through conformational changes. In the current study, we utilized a coarse-grained (CG) model to investigate three representative membrane protein systems: the TMEM16A channel, the family C GPCRs mGlu2 receptor, and the P4-ATPase phospholipid transporter. We constructed the reaction pathway of conformational changes between the two-end structures. Energy profiles and energy barriers were calculated. These data could provide reasonable explanations for TMEM16A activation, the mGlu2 receptor activation process, and P4-ATPase phospholipid transport. Although they all belong to the members of membrane proteins, they behave differently in terms of energy. Our work investigated the working mechanism of membrane proteins and could give novel insights into other membrane protein systems of interest.