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Post-translational membrane insertion of an endogenous YidC substrate

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  • Biology


Membrane protein insertion is controlled by proteinaceous factors embedded in the lipid bilayer. Bacterial inner membrane proteins utilise the Sec translocon as the major facilitator of insertion; however some proteins are Sec independent and instead require only YidC. A common feature of YidC substrates is the exposure of a signal anchor sequence when translation is close to completion; this allows minimal time for targeting and favours a post-translational insertion mechanism. Despite this there is little evidence of YidC's post-translational activity. Here we develop an experimental system that uncouples translation and insertion of the endogenous YidC substrate F0c (subunit c of the F0F1 ATP synthase). In this process we (i) develop a novel one step purification method for YidC, including an on column membrane reconstitution, (ii) isolate a soluble form of F0c and (iii) show that incubation of F0c with YidC proteoliposomes results in a high level of membrane integration. Conformational analyses of inserted F0c through Blue Native PAGE and fluorescence quenching reveal a native, oligomerised structure. These data show that YidC can act as a post-translational insertase, a finding which could explain the absence of a ribosome binding domain on YidC. This correlates with the post-translational activity of other YidC family members lacking the ribosome binding domain.

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