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FEBS Lett. 1995 Aug 1;369(1):76-9.

Heads or tails--what determines the orientation of proteins in the membrane.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland.


The same translocation machinery in the endoplasmic reticulum translocates either the N-or the C-terminal domain of signal-anchor proteins across the membranes. Charged residues flanking the signal sequence are important to determine which end is translocated, but are not sufficient to generate a uniform topology. The folding state of the N-terminal segment, which is to be translocated posttranslationally, and the length or hydrophobicity of the signal sequence are additional criteria to determine protein orientation in the membrane.

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