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Science. 1997 Dec 19;278(5346):2123-6.

Alignment of conduits for the nascent polypeptide chain in the ribosome-Sec61 complex.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Laboratory of Cell Biology, Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


An oligomer of the Sec61 trimeric complex is thought to form the protein-conducting channel for protein transport across the endoplasmic reticulum. A purified yeast Sec61 complex bound to monomeric yeast ribosomes as an oligomer in a saturable fashion. Cryo-electron microscopy of the ribosome-Sec61 complex and a three-dimensional reconstruction showed that the Sec61 oligomer is attached to the large ribosomal subunit by a single connection. Moreover, a funnel-shaped pore in the Sec61 oligomer aligned with the exit of a tunnel traversing the large ribosomal subunit, strongly suggesting that both structures function together in the translocation of proteins across the endoplasmic reticulum membrane.

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