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Mol Microbiol. 1993 Apr;8(2):379-88.

A sequence-specific function for the N-terminal signal-like sequence of the TonB protein.

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  • 1Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, UK.


TonB is a proline-rich protein which provides a functional link between the inner and outer membranes of Gram-negative bacteria. TonB is anchored to the inner membrane via an N-terminal signal-like sequence and spans the periplasm, interacting with transport receptors in the outer membrane. We have investigated the role of the N-terminal signal-like peptide in TonB function. Replacement of the N-terminal sequence with heterologous sequences indicates that it has at least three distinct roles in TonB function: (i) to facilitate translocation of TonB across the cytoplasmic membrane; (ii) to anchor TonB to the cytoplasmic membrane; (iii) a sequence-specific functional interaction with the ExbBD proteins.

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