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FEBS Lett. 2001 Jun 1;498(1):52-6.

Complementation of bacterial SecE by a chloroplastic homologue.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University, Sweden.


The SecE protein is an essential component of the SecAYE-translocase, which mediates protein translocation across the cytoplasmic membrane in bacteria. In the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts, a protein homologous to SecE, chloroplastic (cp) SecE, has been identified. However, the functional role of cpSecE has not been established experimentally. In this report we show that cpSecE in cells depleted for bacterial SecE (i) supports growth, (ii) stabilizes, just like bacterial SecE, the Sec-translocase core component SecY, and (iii) supports Sec-dependent protein translocation. This indicates that cpSecE can functionally replace bacterial SecE in vivo, and strongly suggests that the thylakoid membrane contains a SecAYE-like translocase with functional and structural similarities to the bacterial complex. This study further underscores the evolutionary link between chloroplasts and bacteria.

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