Surface tension at liquid-air interfaces is a major barrier that needs to be surmounted by a wide range of organisms; surfactant and interfacially active proteins have evolved for this purpose. Although these proteins are essential for a variety of biological processes, our understanding of how they elicit their function has been limited. However, with the recent determination of high-resolution 3D structures of several examples, we have gained insight into the distinct shapes and mechanisms that have evolved to confer interfacial activity. It is now a matter of harnessing this information, and these systems, for biotechnological purposes.
- Journal Article