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Structure. 2002 Nov;10(11):1489-98.

Crystallographic structure of SurA, a molecular chaperone that facilitates folding of outer membrane porins.

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Department of Structural Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The SurA protein facilitates correct folding of outer membrane proteins in gram-negative bacteria. The sequence of Escherichia coli SurA presents four segments, two of which are peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases); the crystal structure reveals an asymmetric dumbbell, in which the amino-terminal, carboxy-terminal, and first PPIase segments of the sequence form a core structural module, and the second PPIase segment is a satellite domain tethered approximately 30 A from this module. The core module, which is implicated in membrane protein folding, has a novel fold that includes an extended crevice. Crystal contacts show that peptides bind within the crevice, suggesting a model for chaperone activity whereby segments of polypeptide may be repetitively sequestered and released during the membrane protein-folding process.

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