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Cell. 1982 Aug;30(1):311-9.

Regulation of a membrane component required for protein secretion in Escherichia coli.


We have previously described a gene, secA, which may code for a component of the secretion machinery of E. coli. Temperature-sensitive mutations in this gene lead to the cytoplasmic accumulation of precursors to a number of secreted proteins. In this paper, we describe the use of antibody to the SecA protein to characterize the cellular location and regulation of the protein. The antibody was elicited in response to a SecA-LacZ hybrid protein, produced by a strain carrying a secA-lacZ gene fusion. The secA gene product is a 92 kd polypeptide that is present in small amounts in the cell and that fractionates as a peripheral cytoplasmic membrane protein. The synthesis of the SecA protein is greatly derepressed (at least tenfold) when secretion in E. coli is blocked either in a secAts mutant or in the presence of a MalE-LacZ hybrid protein. We suggest that components of the secretion machinery of E. coli, such as the SecA protein, may be regulated in response to the secretion needs of the cell. When suppression of a secAam mutant is eliminated, leading to the absence of SecA protein, the synthesis of maltose-binding protein is greatly reduced. These results support a mechanism in which secretion and translation are coupled.

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