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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Distinct domains of an oligotopic membrane protein are Sec-dependent and Sec-independent for membrane insertion.

Leader peptidase of Escherichia coli spans the plasma membrane twice with its amino terminus on the periplasmic surface of the membrane and its large carboxyl-terminal domain protruding into the periplasm. To monitor the transfer of the amino terminus of leader peptidase to the periplasm, we have constructed a fusion protein between the 18-residue amino-terminal periplasmic domain of Pf3 bacteriophage coat protein and the beginning of leader peptidase. We find that neither the SecA or SecY proteins nor a transmembrane electrochemical potential is required for insertion of the amino terminus, while the transfer of the carboxyl-terminal domain of leader peptidase has these requirements. The first 35 residues of leader peptidase, which include the first hydrophobic domain and the carboxyl-terminal positively charged cluster, are sufficient to insert the amino terminus. When positively charged residues are introduced before the first transmembrane segment, translocation of the amino terminus is abolished. These studies in protein membrane topogenesis, showing that there are different requirements for amino and carboxyl termini insertion, indicate that multiple mechanisms exist even within the same protein.[1]


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