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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;19(4):368-75. Epub 2007 Jul 16.

How tails guide tail-anchored proteins to their destinations.

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National Research Council Institute for Neuroscience and Department of Medical Pharmacology, University of Milan, via Vanvitelli 32, 20129 Milano, Italy.


A large group of diverse, functionally important, and differently localized transmembrane proteins shares a particular membrane topology, consisting of a cytosolic N-terminal region, followed by a transmembrane domain close to the C-terminus. Because of their structure, these C-tail-anchored (TA) proteins must insert into all their target membranes by post-translational pathways. Recent work, based on the development of stringent and sensitive biochemical assays, has demonstrated that novel unexplored mechanisms underlie these post-translational targeting and membrane insertion pathways. Unravelling these pathways will shed light on the biosynthesis and regulation of an important group of membrane proteins and is likely to lead to new concepts in the field of membrane biogenesis.

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