Membrane proteins (MPs) are the gatekeepers between different biological compartments separated by lipid bilayers. Being receptors, channels, transporters, or primary pumps, they fulfill a wide variety of cellular functions and their importance is reflected in the increasing number of drugs that target MPs. Functional studies of MPs within a native cellular context, however, is difficult due to the innate complexity of the densely packed membranes. Over the past decades, detergent-based extraction and purification of MPs and their reconstitution into lipid mimetic systems has been a very powerful tool to simplify the experimental system. In this review, we focus on proteoliposomes that have become an indispensable experimental system for enzymes with a vectorial function, including many of the here described energy transducing MPs. We first address long standing questions on the difficulty of successful reconstitution and controlled orientation of MPs into liposomes. A special emphasis is given on coreconstitution of several MPs into the same bilayer. Second, we discuss recent progress in the development of fluorescent dyes that offer sensitive detection with high temporal resolution. Finally, we briefly cover the use of giant unilamellar vesicles for the investigation of complex enzymatic cascades, a very promising experimental tool considering our increasing knowledge of the interplay of different cellular components.

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