Membrane proteins make up over half of current drug targets, making them an especially important subject for both academic and pharmaceutical research. Because these proteins are inherently insoluble in aqueous solvents and require the presence of lipids or detergents to remain soluble, their analysis by many techniques such as mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography is challenging. However, over the past 10 to 15 years substantial progress has been made to overcome these hurdles. Only recently has it been possible to obtain mass spectra for intact membrane protein complexes and high-resolution x-ray crystal structures of ion channels and membrane bound receptor molecules.
This conference is dedicated to the mass spectrometry of membrane proteins using a broad range of approaches. This includes applications to structure, biophysics, expression levels, cellular localization, interactions, and function. In addition, we also propose some talks covering complementary analytical techniques, such as X-ray crystallography, NMR, and cryoEM. We envisage this meeting will be topical for the pharmaceutical industry, since many of the current industrial therapeutic targets are membrane proteins.