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Cell. 1998 Apr 3;93(1):93-101.

A novel and ubiquitous system for membrane targeting and secretion of cofactor-containing proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


We report the identification of the proteins encoded by the mttABC operon (formerly yigTUW), which mediate a novel Sec-independent membrane targeting and translocation system in Escherichia coli that interacts with cofactor-containing redox proteins having a S/TRRXFLK "twin arginine" leader motif. A pleiotropic-negative mutant in mttA prevents the periplasmic localization of twin arginine redox enzymes, including nitrate reductase (NapA) and trimethylamine N-oxide reductase (TorA). The mutation also prevents the correct localization of the integral membrane molybdoenzyme dimethylsulfoxide reductase (DmsABC). The DmsA subunit has a twin arginine leader. Proteins with a Sec-dependent leader or which assemble spontaneously in the membrane are not affected by this mutation. MttA, B, and C are members of a large family of related sequences extending from archaebacteria to higher eukaryotes.

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