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Biochimie. 2003 Jul;85(7):659-68.

Targeting and insertion of heterologous membrane proteins in E. coli.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Uppsala University, BMC, Box 591, 75124, Uppsala, Sweden.


Membrane targeting and insertion of the archaeal Halobacter halobium proton pump bacterioopsin (Bop) and the human melanocortin 4 receptor (MC(4)R) were studied in vitro, using E. coli components for protein synthesis, membrane targeting and insertion. These heterologous proteins are targeted to E. coli membranes in a signal recognition particle (SRP) dependent manner and inserted into the membrane co-translationally. Furthermore, we demonstrate that nascent chains of Bop and MC(4)R first interact with SecY and then with YidC as they move through the translocon. Our results suggest that the initial stages of membrane targeting and insertion of heterologous proteins in E. coli proceed by the pathway used for native E. coli membrane proteins. No significant pausing of protein elongation was observed in the presence of E. coli SRP, in line with the suggestion that translational arrest requires an Alu domain, which is absent in SRP from E. coli.

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