Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
As an approach for studying how SecY, an integral membrane protein translocation factor of Escherichia coli, interacts with other protein molecules, we isolated a dominant negative mutation, secY-d1, of the gene carried on a plasmid. The mutant plasmid severely inhibited export of maltose-binding protein and less severely of OmpA, when introduced into sec+ cells. It inhibited growth of secY and secE mutant cells, but not of secA and secD mutant cells or wild-type cells. The mutation deletes three amino acids that should be located at the interface of cytopiasmic domain 5 and transmembrane segment 9. We also found that some SecY-PhoA fusion proteins that lacked carboxy-terminal portions of SecY but retain a region from periplasmic domain 3 to transmembrane segment 7 were inhibitory to protein export. We suggest that these SecY variants are severely defective in catalytic function of SecY, which requires cytoplasmic domain 5 and its carboxy-terminal side, but retain the ability to associate with other molecules of the protein export machinery, which requires the central portion of SecY; they probably exert the ‘dominant negative’ effects by competing with normal SecY for the formation of active Sec complex. These observations should provide a basis for further genetic analysis of the Sec protein complex in the membrane.
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