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J Biol Chem. 2003 Dec 5;278(49):48965-72. Epub 2003 Sep 22.

Defining the regions of Escherichia coli YidC that contribute to activity.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.


The YidC/Oxa1/Alb3 family of proteins catalyzes membrane protein insertion in bacteria, mitochondria, and chloroplasts. In this study, we investigated which regions of the bacterial YidC protein are important for its function in membrane protein biogenesis. In Escherichia coli, YidC spans the membrane six times, with a large 319-residue periplasmic domain following the first transmembrane domain. We found that this large periplasmic domain is not required for YidC function and that the residues in the exposed hydrophilic loops or C-terminal tail are not critical for YidC activity. Rather, the five C-terminal transmembrane segments that contain the three consensus sequences in the YidC/Oxa1/Alb3 family are important for its function. However, by systematically replacing all the residues in transmembrane segment (TM) 2, TM3, and TM6 with serine and by swapping TM4 and TM5 with unrelated transmembrane segments, we show that the precise sequence of these transmembrane regions is not essential for in vivo YidC activity. Single serine mutations in TM2, TM3, and TM6 impaired the membrane insertion of the Sec-independent procoat-leader peptidase protein. We propose that the five C-terminal transmembrane segments of YidC function as a platform for the translocating substrate protein to support its insertion into the membrane.

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