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

Inhibition of PhoE translocation across Escherichia coli inner-membrane vesicles by synthetic signal peptides suggests an important role of acidic phospholipids in protein translocation.

To obtain insight into the mechanism of precursor protein translocation across membranes, the effect of synthetic signal peptides and other relevant (poly)peptides on in vitro PhoE translocation was studied. The PhoE signal peptide, associated with inner membrane vesicles, caused a concentration-dependent inhibition of PhoE translocation, as a result of a specific interaction with the membrane. Using a PhoE signal peptide analog and PhoE signal peptide fragments, it was demonstrated that the hydrophobic part of the peptide caused the inhibitory effect, while the basic amino terminus is most likely important for an optimal interaction with the membrane. A quantitative analysis of our data and the known preferential interaction of synthetic signal peptides with acidic phospholipids in model membranes strongly suggest the involvement of negatively charged phospholipids in the inhibitory interaction of the synthetic PhoE signal peptide with the inner membrane. The important role of acidic phospholipids in protein translocation was further confirmed by the observation that other (poly)peptides, known to have both a high affinity for acidic lipids and hydrophobic interactions with model membranes, also caused strong inhibition of PhoE translocation. The implication of these results with respect to the role of signal peptides in protein translocation is indicated.[1]


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