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J Mol Biol. 2004 Mar 5;336(5):997-1010.

Membrane binding of ribosomes occurs at SecYE-based sites in the Archaea Haloferax volcanii.

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  • 1Department of Life Sciences, Ben Gurion University, Beersheva 84105, Israel.


Whereas ribosomes bind to membranes at eukaryal Sec61alphabetagamma and bacterial SecYEG sites, ribosomal membrane binding has yet to be studied in Archaea. Accordingly, functional ribosomes and inverted membrane vesicles were prepared from the halophilic archaea Haloferax volcanii. The ability of the ribosomes to bind to the membranes was determined using a flotation approach. Proteolytic pretreatment of the vesicles, as well as quantitative analyses, revealed the existence of a proteinaceous ribosome receptor, with the affinity of binding being comparable to that found in Eukarya and Bacteria. Inverted membrane vesicles prepared from cells expressing chimeras of SecE or SecY fused to a cytoplasmically oriented cellulose-binding domain displayed reduced ribosome binding due to steric hindrance. Pretreatment with cellulose drastically reduced ribosome binding to chimera-containing but not wild-type vesicles. Thus, as in Eukarya and Bacteria, ribosome binding in Archaea occurs at Sec-based sites. However, unlike the situation in the other domains of Life, ribosome binding in haloarchaea requires molar concentrations of salt. Structural information on ribosome-Sec complexes may provide insight into this high salt-dependent binding.

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