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Cell. 1985 Jun;41(2):607-14.

An artificial anchor domain: hydrophobicity suffices to stop transfer.


A hydrophobic sequence of 23 contiguous, uncharged residues anchors the coliphage f1 gene III protein (pIII) to the Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membrane; mutations removing this domain allow secretion of the protein to the periplasm. Multiple copies of an oligonucleotide encoding the hydrophobic repeat, Leu-Ala-Leu-Val, were introduced into genes for secreted forms of pIII. Artificial domains of 16 or more hydrophobic residues function to anchor the protein. Pronase protection experiments demonstrate that the new sequences act to halt transfer of the protein across the membrane, thus specifying a transmembrane topology. Relocating the hydrophobic domain within the polypeptide chain predictably alters the resultant protein/membrane topology. Repeats of a polar sequence were inserted with no effect on secretion. Furthermore, an unrelated hydrophobic sequence, uncovered by a gene III frameshift mutation, acts to anchor the protein. We conclude that function simply reflects hydrophobicity and not some more subtle feature of structure or sequence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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