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EMBO Rep. 2001 Aug;2(8):709-14. Epub 2001 Jul 19.

YidC, an assembly site for polytopic Escherichia coli membrane proteins located in immediate proximity to the SecYE translocon and lipids.

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  • 1Institut für Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universität Freiburg, Hermann-Herderstrasse 7, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.


Like its mitochondrial homolog Oxa1p, the inner membrane protein YidC of Escherichia coli is involved in the integration of membrane proteins. We have analyzed individual insertion steps of the polytopic E. coli membrane protein MtlA targeted as ribosome-nascent chain complexes to inner membrane vesicles. YidC can accommodate at least the first two transmembrane segments of MtlA at the protein lipid interface and retain them even though the length of the nascent chain would amply allow insertion into membrane lipids. An even longer insertion intermediate of MtlA is described that still has the first transmembrane helix bound to YidC while the third contacts SecE and YidC during integration. Our findings suggest that YidC forms a contiguous integration unit with the SecYE translocon and functions as an assembly site for polytopic membrane proteins mediating the formation of helix bundles prior to their release into the membrane lipids.

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