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

Positive charges in the cytoplasmic domain of Escherichia coli leader peptidase prevent an apolar domain from functioning as a signal.

Leader peptidase, an integral transmembrane protein of Escherichia coli, requires two apolar topogenic elements for its membrane assembly: a 'hydrophobic helper' and an internal signal. The highly basic cytoplasmic region between these domains is a translocation poison sequence, which we have shown blocks the function of a preceding signal sequence. We have used oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis to remove positively charged residues within this polar domain to determine if it is the basic character in this region that has the negative effect on translocation. Our results show that mutations that remove two or more of the positively charged residues within the polar region no longer block membrane assembly of leader peptidase. In addition, when the translocation poison domain (residues 30-52) is replaced with six lysine residues, the preceding apolar domain cannot function as an export signal, whereas it can with six glutamic acids. Thus, positively charged residues within membrane proteins may have a major role in determining the function of hydrophobic domains in membrane assembly.[1]


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