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EMBO J. 1989 Mar;8(3):961-6.

SecA protein hydrolyzes ATP and is an essential component of the protein translocation ATPase of Escherichia coli.

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Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles 90024-1570.


Bacterial protein export requires two forms of energy input, ATP and the membrane electrochemical potential. Using an in vitro reaction reconstituted with purified soluble and peripheral membrane components, we can now directly measure the translocation-coupled hydrolysis of ATP. This translocation ATPase requires inner membrane vesicles, SecA protein and translocation-competent proOmpA. The stimulatory activity of membrane vesicles can be blocked by either antibody to the SecY protein or by preparing the membranes from a secY-thermosensitive strain which had been incubated at the non-permissive temperature in vivo. The SecA protein itself has more than one ATP binding site. 8-azido-ATP inactivates SecA for proOmpA translocation and for translocation ATPase, yet does not inhibit a low level of ATP hydrolysis inherent in the isolated SecA protein. These data show that the SecA protein has a central role in coupling the hydrolysis of ATP to the transfer of pre-secretory proteins across the membrane.

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