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Membrane Insertion of Tail-anchored Proteins

  1. Maya Schuldiner1,
  2. Blanche Schwappach2,
  3. Jonathan S Weissman3

Published Online: 15 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021876



How to Cite

Schuldiner, M., Schwappach, B. and Weissman, J. S. 2010. Membrane Insertion of Tail-anchored Proteins. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Molecular Genetics, Rehovot, Israel

  2. 2

    University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences, Manchester, UK

  3. 3

    University of California, San Francisco, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JAN 2010

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (16 FEB 2015)


Tail-anchored (TA) proteins are a special class of transmembrane proteins, which harbour only a single hydrophobic segment adjacent to their most C-terminus. This anchor must be inserted into membranes posttranslationally to allow for their correct cellular localization. Although TA proteins have essential cellular roles such as signal transduction, apoptosis and vesicle fusion, their biogenesis route has for many years remained unknown. Recently, several advances have created a new understanding of the TA protein insertion machinery. Uncovering the machinery responsible for the biogenesis of TA proteins should further our ability to understand a wide variety of diseases such as forms of cancer caused by activation of the TA protein oncogene BCL2.

Key concepts:

  • Tail-anchored proteins have C-terminal hydrophobic domains.

  • Tail-anchored proteins are inserted posttranslationally into the membrane.

  • The GET complex inserts tail-anchored proteins into the endoplasmic reticulum membrane in yeast.

  • The TRC complex chaperones tail-anchored proteins into membranes in humans.


  • tail-anchored proteins;
  • membrane insertion;
  • GET/TRC;
  • ATPase;
  • endoplasmic reticulum;
  • mitochondria