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Trends Microbiol. 2007 May;15(5):203-10. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

The SecY translocation complex: convergence of genetics and structure.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037, USA.


All organisms share a requirement for translocation of proteins across membranes. The major mechanism for this process is the universally conserved SecY/Sec61 pathway. Many years of extensive genetic and biochemical analyses identified the components of the SecY/Sec61 pathway, demonstrated that most exported proteins use this route for translocation, and led to understanding of many functions of the components. Recently, structural predictions based on genetic analyses in Escherichia coli were confirmed, in a striking and satisfying manner, by the solution of an X-ray crystal structure from an archaeal SecY complex. This review discusses the genetic background that led to those hypotheses and the convergence of genetic studies with structural data.

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