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J Mol Biol. 1988 Sep 20;203(2):467-78.

The cpx proteins of Escherichia coli K12. Structure of the cpxA polypeptide as an inner membrane component.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461.


Gene cpxA of Escherichia coli K12 encodes the 52,000 Mr CpxA polypeptide. The complete cpxA nucleotide sequence, reported here, predicted that CpxA contains two extended, hydrophobic segments in its amino-terminal half and could therefore be a membrane protein. Using a lac-cpxA operon fusion plasmid to overproduce CpxA and an immunochemical assay to detect the polypeptide, we show that CpxA fractionated with the bacterial inner membrane during differential and isopycnic sedimentation. Moreover, the protein could be solubilized by extraction of crude membranes with non-ionic detergents but not with KCl or NaOH, indicating that Cpx is an intrinsic membrane component. Analysis of TnphoA insertions in cpxA indicated that the region between the hydrophobic segments of CpxA is periplasmic, whereas the region carboxy-terminal to the second such segment is cytoplasmic. Based on these structural data, we propose that CpxA functions as a trans-membrane sensory protein. The DNA sequence data also indicate that cpxA is the 3' gene of an operon.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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