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

Localization of proteolytic activity in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli.

An enzyme in the cytoplasmic membrane, nitrate reductase, can be solubilized by heating membranes to 60 degrees C for 10 min at alkaline pH. A protease in the cell envelope has been shown to be responsible for this solubilization. The localization of this protease in the outer membrane was demonstrated by separating the outer membrane from the cytoplasmic membrane, adding back various forms of outer membrane protein to the cytoplasmic membrane, and following the increase in nitrate reductase solubilization with increasing amounts of outer membrane proteins. This solubilization is accompanied by the cleavage of one of the subunits of nitrate reductase and is inhibited by the protease inhibitor p-aminobenzamidine. Analysis of membrane proteins synthesized by cells grown in the presence of various amounts of p-aminobenzamidine revealed that p-aminobenzamidine affects the synthesis of the major outer membrane proteins but has little effect on the synthesis of cytoplasmic membrane proteins. When outer membrane is reacted with the protease inhibitor [3H]diisopropylfluorophosphate, a single protein in the outer membrane is labeled. Since the interaction with diisopropylfluorophosphate is inhibited by p-aminobenzamidine, it is suggested that this single outer membrane protein is responsible for the in vitro solubilization of nitrate reductase and the in vivo processing of the major outer membrane proteins.[1]


  1. Localization of proteolytic activity in the outer membrane of Escherichia coli. MacGregor, C.H., Bishop, C.W., Blech, J.E. J. Bacteriol. (1979) [Pubmed]
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