Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Jun 25;99(13):8701-6. Epub 2002 Jun 11.

Evidence that subcellular localization of a bacterial membrane protein is achieved by diffusion and capture.

Author information

  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138,, USA.


Bacteria lack an endoplasmic reticulum, a Golgi apparatus, and transport vesicles and yet are capable of sorting and delivering integral membrane proteins to particular sites within the cell with high precision. What is the pathway by which membrane proteins reach their proper subcellular destination in bacteria? We have addressed this question by using green fluorescent protein (GFP) fused to a polytopic membrane protein (SpoIVFB) that is involved in the process of sporulation in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis. SpoIVFB-GFP localizes to a region of the sporulating cell known as the outer forespore membrane, which is distinct from the cytoplasmic membrane. Experiments are presented that rule out a mechanism in which SpoIVFB-GFP localizes to all membranes but is selectively eliminated from the cytoplasmic membrane by proteolytic degradation and argue against a model in which SpoIVFB-GFP is selectively inserted into the outer forespore membrane. Instead, the results are most easily compatible with a model in which SpoIVFB-GFP achieves proper localization by insertion into the cytoplasmic membrane followed by diffusion to, and capture in, the outer forespore membrane. The possibility that diffusion and capture is a general feature of protein localization in bacteria is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk