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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 8;277(10):8602-10. Epub 2001 Oct 22.

Membrane protein topology of oleosin is constrained by its long hydrophobic domain.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 1N4, Canada.


Oleosin proteins from Arabidopsis assume a unique endoplasmic reticulum (ER) topology with a membrane-integrated hydrophobic (H) domain of 72 residues, flanked by two cytosolic hydrophilic domains. We have investigated the targeting and topological determinants present within the oleosin polypeptide sequence using ER-derived canine pancreatic microsomes. Our data indicate that oleosins are integrated into membranes by a cotranslational, translocon-mediated pathway. This is supported by the identification of two independent functional signal sequences in the H domain, and by demonstrating the involvement of the SRP receptor in membrane targeting. Oleosin topology was manipulated by the addition of an N-terminal cleavable signal sequence, resulting in translocation of the N terminus to the microsomal lumen. Surprisingly, the C terminus failed to translocate. Inhibition of C-terminal translocation was not dependent on either the sequence of hydrophobic segments in the H domain, the central proline knot motif or charges flanking the H domain. Therefore, the topological constraint results from the length and/or the hydrophobicity of the H domain, implying a general case that long hydrophobic spans are unable to translocate their C terminus to the ER lumen.

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